Margin Call

During the fourth quarter 2012 Apple’s margin fell to about 38%, a level not seen since two years earlier and down from a peak of 47% in Q1 2012. Does this lower margin foretell lower prices or a loss of competitiveness?

Obviously not. […] We can at a glance see that the cost of sales increased as a proportion of sales. Therefore the margin decreased as a percent of sales. The cause is higher costs, not lower pricing.

In fact, pricing analysis was already performed and showed that they largely held steady (iPad being the only decline). If pricing is unchanged then competitive issues are not to blame. The supposed link between lower margins and some mythical loss of competitiveness can be easily disproved.

But there’s more. There is an easily observed cause to changes in production costs. […] Because, as everyone knows, costs of production fall as output increases. It’s due to something called the learning curve. It’s something that has happened for all of Apple’s (or anyone else’s) product launches forever.

Margin Call | asymco.

Concluzii:

– compresia gross margin nu este data de concurenta ci de lansarea simultana a atator produse noi, care implica costuri mai mari in primele luni – ceea ce ne-a fost indicat de management inca din earnings call-ul din octombrie;

– in trimestrul curent am putea avea o surpriza placuta la gross margin, pe masura ce Apple devine mai eficient in fabricarea produselor noi introduse in toamna. Insa comparatia cu trimestrul cu marja monstruoasa (47%) de anul trecut (cand iPhone 4S era aproape identic cu iPhone 4 ce se producea deja de 15 luni) nu poate iesi decat negativa…

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