So yes. Now we have Apple's latest July-Sept Quarter, ie calendar quarter Q3 (Apple has different fiscal quarters, we use standardized calendar quarters on this blog). And as this blog is only interested in mobile phones and thus, smartphones, I won't look at other aspects of Apple's great businesses than the iPhone smartphone business.
And that is once again reporting growth. Year-on-year growth level of 26% and Quarterly growth vs 3 months ago of 8%. Apple is holding steady in its market share at 13.6% (preliminary). The iPhone business is profitable, they have now split their product line into a premium product and (nominally) discount product. All is generally pretty good. Next quarter will have the full sales quarter for the new iPhones, 5S and 5C, and that will definitely help Apple to record Christmas sales in the smartphone business and new record unit sales levels. But what of market share?
Apple's iPhone market share has indeed peaked. It is now almost impossible for Apple to be able to report growing iPhone market share annually for 2013, compared to 2012. It will be the first year that iPhone did not add market share on an annual basis. I predicted this would happen, I was off by the timing (but nobody could foresee that Nokia's CEO would be given a bonus for wrecking his handset business). But we've been monitoring the developments of the iPhone market share and here is an interesting view for you to consider. Because Apple only releases a new iPhone/iPhones once per year, it has a peculiar sales pattern of strongly seasonal sales. So comparing Quarter-to-Quarter would give a see-saw effect, some months up, other months down, with difficult-to-see patterns. But we have a good statistical tool for that. Lets look at the last 4 quarters (last 12 months) moving average. Now it gets very interesting. Look at iPhone market share development as an averagef of the latest 4 quarters ending:
MOVING AVERAGE iPHONE MARKET SHARE
Latest 4 quarters ending Q4 2009 - 14.0%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q1 2010 - 15.3%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q2 2010 - 15.8%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q3 2010 - 15.9%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q4 2010 - 15.9%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q1 2011 - 16.5%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q2 2011 - 17.8%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q3 2011 - 16.9%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q4 2011 - 18.7%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q1 2012 - 20.1%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q2 2012 - 19.6%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q3 2012 - 20.0%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q4 2012 - 19.6%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q1 2013 - 18.1%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q2 2013 - 17.2%
Latest 4 quarters ending Q3 2013 - 16.6%
Source: Apple quarterly results
The above data may be freely shared
The iPhone 12 month moving average has fallen now for 5 quarters in a row. It is now indisputable that there has been a clear peak in year 2012 and the moving average is down over 3 points of market share (one seventh of its size) from the peak it held last year. It would take Apple a Herculean sales effort for Christmas - of about 91 million unit sales (and quarterly market share of 29% when Apple has never had a quarterly market share better than 24% before) to bring Apple to 'level' in market share compared to last year. I am expecting Apple Q4 Christmas Quarter to have something like 65 million iPhone sales - which would be 'normal' growth vs last year and produce record performance at Apple - and result in Apple's full year 2013 market share to be about 17% to 18%.
Now, what Apple needs to do, if it wants to reverse the decline in market share - is to lower the price of its discount product, the iPhone 5C. Of course Apple doesn't care about my views or about market share, they want profit share and pursuing that strategy no doubt is best for Apple investors - but this means that you should not expect iPhone market share to grow anymore. It has peaked and will now settle into that roughly 1 in 6 smartphones sold level (And roughly 1 in 12 total handsets sold which is well in line with historical Macintosh PC sales...)