Iphone shipments in China slump 20% in Q4 of 2018

Mild market reaction suggests Apple decline already built into investor expectations

Investors have long been concerned about the demand prospects for Apple’s flagship product, particularly in China. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/File Photo

Investors have long been concerned about the demand prospects for Apple’s flagship product, particularly in China. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/File Photo

 

Apple was little changed on Monday as investors looked past a report its smartphone shipments plummeted in China in the final quarter of 2018, suggesting that issue, a major headwind over the past several months, is priced into the stock for now.

The stock briefly dipped as much as 0.6 per cent before bouncing back, but is still underperforming the technology sector, which rose 0.3 per cent.

According to research firm IDC, Apple’s smartphone shipments in China fell an estimated 20 per cent in the fourth quarter, outpacing a 9.7 per cent contraction in the Chinese domestic market. Demand for the iPhone was hurt by a slowing economy, higher prices, and longer replacement cycles.

Flagship product

Investors have long been concerned about the demand prospects for Apple’s flagship product, particularly in China, suggesting the trend found in the IDC report could already be priced into the stock. Shares of Apple are down more than 26 per cent from record levels, though they’ve gained nearly 20 per cent from a low in early January.

According to Bloomberg data, the iPhone accounted for more than 60 per cent of Apple’s 2018 revenue, while it derived almost 20 per cent of its revenue from China. – Bloomberg