For quite some time now, the iPhone has faithfully remained Apple’s primary revenue driver. Most recently, iPhone-based revenue accounted for a whopping 70% of Apple’s earnings during the 2017 holiday quarter. The iPhone’s popularity notwithstanding, a number of analysts over the past few years have promulgated the narrative that we’re either at or about to reach peak iPhone, which is to say that Apple is fast approaching a time where iPhone growth will begin experiencing a marked decline.
In light of that, many analysts have wondered aloud if Apple has the ability to come up with new revenue streams to keep earnings trending upwards. To this point, a new research note from Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty (via Business Insider) relays that revenue from Apple’s services division may significantly boost Apple’s earnings potential. Hardly a controversial sentiment, revenue from Apple’s range of services (which includes iTunes, the App Store, Apple Music, and more) has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years.
Huberty’s note reads in part:
Over the last five years, the vast majority (86%) of Apple’s 8% annual revenue growth was driven by iPhone sales, [but] it is through monetization of Apple’s Services business that we see the company still generating mid single digit revenue growth.
Indeed, Apple has already seen revenue from its range of services grow drastically in recent years. Just this past quarter, for example, Apple’s services division raked in $8.4 billion in revenue. By way of contrast, Apple during the same quarter three years ago saw revenue from its array of services check in at $4.7 billion.
Huberty further writes that Apple enjoys an average of about $30 in services-related revenue per device, representing an increase of $5 per device compared to two years ago.
Also, Huberty believes not only could the $30 number actually be $60, but it “could approach $100 or more.” That is because, according to the note, Amazon Prime has about 106 million users who pay about $99 per year, and Netflix has roughly 111 million subscribers who pay about $120 per year.
Plus, only about 18% of Apple’s total device installed base are paid subscribers, “leaving much room for improved recurring revenue,” the note said.
Notably, Apple Music alone appears to be a growing source of revenue for the company, with recent reports indicating that Apple’s streaming music service may boast more paying subscribers than Spotify as early as this summer. Just two weeks ago, Apple disclosed that Apple Music now has 38 million subscribers, representing a 5% increase in just about one month. Meanwhile, revenue from the App Store continues to impress, with Apple in 2017 earning about $88 billion in revenue from the App Store.