By Subrat Patnaik
(Reuters) – Apple Inc’s <AAPL.O> shares fell nearly 5% in premarket trading after the world’s most valuable public company reported a steep fall in iPhone sales in China, hurt by the delay of its new model due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Customers put off buying new devices in the second half of September, leading the company to report its steepest quarterly drop in iPhone sales in at least three years. [nL1N2HK3HX]
“We think this was most blatant in China, where 5G service is more accessible, with sales in the region declining 29% – also a bigger decline than we anticipated,” Angelo Zino, analyst at CFRA Research said on Thursday.
Analysts also noted that the iPhone represents a larger portion of revenue in China than any other region, making the company more dependent on the business in the region.
In recent years, Apple has worked on diversifying its revenue streams to lessen its dependence on the iPhone, but Wall Street still keeps a close eye on the flagship business.
Macs, iPads and services businesses helped the company beat estimates and register its biggest fourth quarter.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told Reuters he was “optimistic” about the iPhone 12 cycle based on the first five days of shipping data.
However, the company did not provide a specific forecast for the crucial holiday shopping quarter, disappointing some investors.
Twenty-seven brokerages rate the stock “buy” or higher, 10 “hold” and three “sell” or lower, with the median price target on stock is at $133.
(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Additonal reporting Aniruddha Ghosh; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)