Worldwide Demand for iPhone 3GS Outstripping Supply
Demand exceeding supply for the Apple iPhone 3GS is one of the big takeaways from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster’s earnings preview for Apple’s September quarter and it obviously bodes well for the company’s investors. Munster sees Apple (AAPL) beating the Street’s estimates thanks to increased sales of both Macs and iPhones.
As the analyst notes, NPD data for the first two months of the September quarter show Mac sales up about seven percent year over year. iPhone sales are even more robust.
“Our checks indicate that worldwide demand for the iPhone 3GS is outstripping supply,” Munster writes. “This strong level of demand, we believe, will support unit sell-through of about 7.5m units in the Sept. quarter.”
Continuing, Munster notes that “PJC Wireless Analyst Mike Walkley’s checks for the first two months of the Sept. quarter indicated constraints at retail for the iPhone 3GS. We have also seen signs of constraints in international markets. Media reports indicate that the CEO of wireless carrier 3 Italia indicated that the company is selling 20k iPhones per month, but could sell more than double that amount if it had adequate supply.”
If this is problem, Munster asserts, it’s a fleeting one: “While supply constraint is a issue near-term, we see it as a long term positive, as worldwide demand appears to be very strong for the iPhone 3GS.”
In quarters past, Apple has guided revenue four percent below Street expectations on average and earnings-per-share 12 percent below Street expectations. But the company’s actual results have typically beaten those estimates by an average of three percent on revenue and by 24 percent on earnings per share. Munster expects this to be the case again when Apple reports earnings on Monday.
Over at RBC Capital Markets, analyst Mike Abramsky sees Apple’s forthcoming earnings report playing out in much the same way for largely the same reasons. “Checks show that the iPhone 3GS is the most popular Smartphone at AT&T and other global carriers (e.g., O2 UK, Rogers),” he wrote in a note to investors today.
“Despite launch in June,” Abramsky added, “some models of the iPhone 3GS were stocked out at Apple retail stores and carrier stores through Q4; however, checks show retail availability appears to have improved early September. While sell-through of the prior-gen iPhone 3G has been slow at AT&T since the launch of the iPhone 3GS, we believe the $99 iPhone 3G is gaining traction outside North America given lower upfront cost (important where prepaid is high).”