Bearish Apple analyst continues trend of bashing iPhone sales

Posted:
in AAPL Investors edited September 23
Continually bearish analysis from Rosenblatt Securities paints Apple as a company that disappoints with its latest iPhone launch, and is predicting low sales for the iPhone 11 and Pro models versus the 2018 releases, along with expressing concerns over sales momentum.

iPhone 11


Analysis of Apple's fortunes from Jun Zhang, published in notes to investors from Rosenblatt Securities, typically warns of doom and gloom for the iPhone maker, and in a new note seen by AppleInsider, the trend continues. In the latest essay, provided to investors on Monday, Zhang offers dour opinions on the sales of the new iPhones.

The iPhone 11 is estimated to make up around 60% of total new model sales, with the iPhone 11 Pro Max at around 22% and the iPhone 11 Pro at 18%. The product mix is skewed towards the iPhone 11 in Rosenblatt's view more than last year, which saw iPhone XR sales make up 55% of the total, with the iPhone XS Max at about 30% and the iPhone XS at around 15%.

The change in mix is obviously going to affect the average selling price (ASP), which Zhang predicts will be between 10% and 15% lower than the second half of 2018, with between 68 and 70 million new iPhones thought to ship this year.

The two week to three week wait time is attributed to lower initial production for the new models in September compared with 2018, when Apple's launch of three models rather than delaying one until later meant more had to be produced in the month. The squeeze forced a reduction of the two Pro model's production to accommodate the iPhone 11, "which is why there are lines out of retailer stores again this year," Zhang muses.

On average, Zhang suggests a 30% reduction in production for each model, with the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max thought to be at 12 million units versus the iPhone XS and XS Max's 16 million in September, while the iPhone 11's September run is 9 million against the iPhone XR's 12 million in October.

While expressing a belief the launch of the trio "makes initial sales look stronger compared to last year," the claim is immediately tempered, by suggesting "if we compare three models versus three models, sales would have declined year on year." Zhang goes on to reference the sales of the iPhone 11 as being similar with weekly sales of the iPhone XR during a January price cut, and while iPhone XR sales were around 2.5 million per month after said cut in China, initial weekend sales of the iPhone 11 were 500,000 in the country.

Apple "may be able to report better than expected September revenues" thanks to a faster production ramp and shipments, suggests Rosenblatt, with ASP declines remaining a "main concern" for iPhone sales this year. Shipments in December and January are tipped to be "below seasonally normal," albeit with shipments to the US likely to remain at current levels until December when tariffs against the iPhone kick in.

Stating the obvious, "Older model sales dropped dramatically since last week," the firm adds, due to the cheaper price of the iPhone 11 and its dual camera, and that it "does not make sense for consumers to buy the iPhone XS or XS Max." Given that Apple isn't selling iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max, this is another obvious statement from the analyst.

There is added concern about iPhone sale sustainability, as Rosenblatt says there won't be "a new product launching in October this year," leaving a long time without added promotion until potential January price cuts. Historically, however, even on years without a late iPhone launch, Apple's biggest selling periods are a very short period of time after initial launch, with a dramatic uptick following the "Black Friday" buying period, though the end of the year.

Rosenblatt and Zhang's pessimism extends to the AirPods too. While on the one hand the note advises shipments of the AirPods doubled year-on-year and is on target for 50 million units this year, as well as having built some inventory in the US ahead of the September tariff application, the firm also claims "we do not believe AirPod shipments will grow in a meaningful way in 2020."

Rosenblatt maintains its considerably low price target of $150 and "Sell" rating for Apple's shares. Apple opened trading for Monday at $221.38.

A graph showing the closing price of AAPL over time compared against Rosenblatt's price target (via Rosenblatt)
A graph showing the closing price of AAPL over time compared against Rosenblatt's price target (via Rosenblatt)


Zhang's notes are well known for presenting one of the most pessimistic views of Apple out of major analysts, and has generally been that way for the last few years. The notes have included various pronouncements about iPhone production levels being down or delayed. Notably, Zhang was among the analysts to completely botch predictions surrounding iPhone X demand.

Price targets from Rosenblatt set by Zhang and the rest of the analyst team typically trend below the share price of Apple itself, with the current $150 price target installed since the end of January, down from the prior $165, and has remained unchanged throughout the year.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 52
    A big part always seems to be the days counted in the Quarter compared to the previous year...Are there extra sales days in this year's quarter compared to last year? or less
  • Reply 2 of 52
    Love these 🍎 basher  analysts, they make me $. Another buying opportunity. 
    razorpit
  • Reply 3 of 52
    iOS_Guy80 said:
    Love these 🍎 basher  analysts, they make me $. Another buying opportunity. 
    For you and a lot of other people. Thats the whole point.
    doctwelvekitatit
  • Reply 4 of 52
    Stock price manipulation to benefit the few. It’s criminal. Or I wish it was.
    doctwelverazorpitmac_dogkitatit
  • Reply 5 of 52
    The stock is up 25% since he set his $150 price target six months ago   ($175 => $220)

    The stock is up 47% since he set his $120 price target two years ago  ($150 => $220)

    His analysis is full of pure hypothesis story-telling and zero hard facts.  How is it possible he still has his job?   

    edited September 23 razorpitrandominternetpersonwonkothesanenetmageemig647badmonk
  • Reply 6 of 52
    Separately, CNBC reports:
    "People aren’t as interested in the iPhone 11 because they’re waiting for a 5G model, Piper Jaffray survey say"

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/23/apple-customers-hold-out-for-5g-despite-lower-prices-on-iphone-survey.html

    That makes sense to me -- better to wait if you can because the arguments for not waiting are pretty weak - particularly now that iPhones tend to have 4-6 year life cycle:


    muthuk_vanalingamchemengin1
  • Reply 7 of 52
    Separately, CNBC reports:
    "People aren’t as interested in the iPhone 11 because they’re waiting for a 5G model, Piper Jaffray survey say"

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/23/apple-customers-hold-out-for-5g-despite-lower-prices-on-iphone-survey.html

    That makes sense to me -- better to wait if you can because the arguments for not waiting are pretty weak - particularly now that iPhones tend to have 4-6 year life cycle:


    5G?? Where? I upgrade every year because i can afford it....5G or not....
  • Reply 8 of 52
    Separately, CNBC reports:
    "People aren’t as interested in the iPhone 11 because they’re waiting for a 5G model, Piper Jaffray survey say"

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/23/apple-customers-hold-out-for-5g-despite-lower-prices-on-iphone-survey.html

    That makes sense to me -- better to wait if you can because the arguments for not waiting are pretty weak - particularly now that iPhones tend to have 4-6 year life cycle:


    Tmall says sales of iPhone 11 series within the first 12 hours exceeded sales on the launch day of new phones last year. ...JD.com also reported this year’s first-day sales was double what it was last year.”

    These new Apple iPhones are already sold out in China on launch day

    From the country that aggressively pushes 5G

    edited September 23
  • Reply 9 of 52
    FolioFolio Posts: 652member
    Rosenblatt a major? Well, maybe Mr Zhang frequenting same astrologer as Goldman's Rod Hall.
    wonkothesaneFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 10 of 52
    Apple dividends are too high and their stock price too low. Cut dividends completely so that stock price was the only way to make more money and let's see what these analysts have to say about Apple. 
  • Reply 11 of 52
    FolioFolio Posts: 652member
    One thing perhaps deserves comment. Mr Zhang frets about a lull, pre-holiday season, since Apple launched a triad mid Sept. Aside from 13.1 boost, there'll be Tile-like news flurry, and a salvo with that photographic boost. Not to mention free Apple TV unveiling etc etc.
  • Reply 12 of 52
    Serving gloom and doom since 94. 

    I bet it really pisses them off that a lot of Apple stores are sold out of most 11 pro and pro max phones. 

    Yep these phones are duds.

    😂😂😂😂
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 13 of 52
    Separately, CNBC reports:
    "People aren’t as interested in the iPhone 11 because they’re waiting for a 5G model, Piper Jaffray survey say"

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/23/apple-customers-hold-out-for-5g-despite-lower-prices-on-iphone-survey.html

    That makes sense to me -- better to wait if you can because the arguments for not waiting are pretty weak - particularly now that iPhones tend to have 4-6 year life cycle:


    Given the boost in LTE speeds with the new iPhone 11/11 Pro series (https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/09/11/early-test-suggests-iphone-11-pro-has-13-faster-4g-lte-versus-iphone-xs) and the fact that at least one major carrier has expressed an interest in charging a premium for 5G service (https://9to5mac.com/2019/04/24/att-5g-pricing-tiers/), which leads me to believe that all carriers will use this as a wedge to increase monthly rates that customers will simply end up having to absorb as the move to 5G mobile devices becomes the norm as carriers introduce "upgrade" plans that are not optional.

    I have to wonder if the iPhone 11/11 Pro/11 Pro Max might be a better value for customers where 4G/LTE speed and signal are already excellent?

    How many users with 8/8+/X/XR/XS/XS Max devices upgrade is certainly a neat point of speculation, but for those with the 6/6+/6s/6s+/7/7+ models wanting to switch, I believe the iPhone 11 Series represents their best bet right now, unless one is simply eager to part with more money for the privilege of that faster data plan next year. Given the carriers abysmal customer support, Byzantine billing and relative nonchalance considering places where signals aren't that good (wait for 5G, my carriers tells me) I have zero desire to fork over more money. Just my 2¢.
    badmonk
  • Reply 14 of 52
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Separately, CNBC reports:
    "People aren’t as interested in the iPhone 11 because they’re waiting for a 5G model, Piper Jaffray survey say"

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/23/apple-customers-hold-out-for-5g-despite-lower-prices-on-iphone-survey.html

    That makes sense to me -- better to wait if you can because the arguments for not waiting are pretty weak - particularly now that iPhones tend to have 4-6 year life cycle:


    5G?? Where? I upgrade every year because i can afford it....5G or not....
    If you are on the Apple upgrade program, it is the same monthly price whether you upgrade every year or wait 2 years to get to keep the phone.  I have so many iPhones in my drawer now that I see no point waiting for 2 years.  Selling on Gazelle will not bring that much after 2 years ($200 for a phone in fair condition).
    5G is not widely available and the modems are battery hogs.  Apple is smart to wait for a year when full coverage is available and the chips have been optimized.  
  • Reply 15 of 52
    The AAPL price did drop to $147 on December 24, 2018. Apple reported doom and gloom in early January. The trade talks are going nowhere. Trump presidency is in shambles with a new scandal coming out every day. On December 15, 2019 the tariffs on the iPhones are being imposed. Brexit is looming. 

    It’s not like what he is saying is out of the realm of possible. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 52
    I’ve  concluded that The Market is like a Rorschach test, or a piece of abstract art. Analysts can and will see whatever is inside them in these analytics of the prices of stocks. In reality they have no idea whatks going to happen, but if they are pessimistic, or dislike a particular company they will talk it down. If they are optimistic or like a particular company they will talk it up. What they say though has no relation to what the real value or trend of the market is and will be. 
  • Reply 17 of 52
    Explain to me how the iPhone 8 is fundamentally different from iPhone 7 that those with the iPhone 7 must upgrade this year. 

    I have an iPhone 7 and am not planning to upgrade. 
  • Reply 18 of 52
    Is it possible that sales are significantly better than analysts expect?  I seem to recall a recent news item about Apple and Foxconn getting in trouble for excess overtime. My speculation is that a handshake deal between Cook and Trump to delay tariffs along with a huge temp staff buildup and extra overtime created a huge stockpile of phones for launch. 
  • Reply 19 of 52
    sirozha said:
    The AAPL price did drop to $147 on December 24, 2018. Apple reported doom and gloom in early January. The trade talks are going nowhere. Trump presidency is in shambles with a new scandal coming out every day. On December 15, 2019 the tariffs on the iPhones are being imposed. Brexit is looming. 

    It’s not like what he is saying is out of the realm of possible. 
    Maybe he can use that as part of his personal marketing.

    "My conclusions are 'not outside the realm of the possible!'"

    "One of my 8 predictions in the past 3 years has come true; I could be right again this time!"
    edited September 23 netmageFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 20 of 52
    sirozha said:
    Explain to me how the iPhone 8 is fundamentally different from iPhone 7 that those with the iPhone 7 must upgrade this year. 

    I have an iPhone 7 and am not planning to upgrade. 
    If you read the reviews from 2 years ago, they generally didn't recommend that 7 owners upgrade to the 8.  So why would that be any different two years later?

    You might want to consider some flavor of 11 however.  Or if you're happy with your 3-year-old iPhone 7, that's fine too.  Congratulations on a smart purchase.
    edited September 23 FileMakerFeller
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