By Jason Snell
November 9, 2023 9:36 AM PT
Apple’s fiscal 2023 in charts
Last week Apple announced its fiscal fourth quarter results, posting another flat sales quarter even as profits (and services revenue) continue to rise. And as usual, I filled a bunch of numbers into a Number spreadsheet, ran my little charting Automator app, and out popped out a bunch of colorful charts.
It being the fiscal fourth quarter, of course, means it’s also the end of Apple’s fiscal year. And that gives me the opportunity to cart out a separate set of charts, ones that take the longer view and show the changes in Apple’s business over an entire year.
Let’s dig in to the charts, starting with the big one, overall Apple revenue for the last 25 years:
After the revenue rocketship that was fiscal 2021, the past two years have been a lot quieter. While 2022’s record revenue is the proverbial “tough compare,” the fact that the company has held on to most of the revenue from that record year and the enormous growth spurt in 2020 is still pretty impressive. Unless you are Wall Street and looking for signs of more growth.
Speaking of growth: The last two times Apple posted a blow-out fiscal year—2015 and 2018—it backslid the next year. That didn’t happen last year, but this year we did finally see the inevitable backslide. The key lesson here is, if you keep having those quantum leap years, Wall Street won’t get too grumpy when you have a few middling years afterward.
Of course, the driver of half Apple’s revenue is the iPhone, so as the iPhone goes, so goes Apple:
The iPhone’s slight backsliding in total revenue more or less matches Apple’s own story. Instead of spiking and then dropping down, as it did during the past boom years, this latest cycle featured a spike, a slight increase, and a slight drop. I don’t know what 2024 has in store for Apple, but I have my doubts that iPhone revenue is ever going down below $200 billion again.
Let’s look at the Mac, which followed up its record-breaking 2022 with a horrible year, relatively speaking:
2021 was a massive sales jump for the Mac, and 2022 took it even further. The combination of COVID lockdowns driving sales and Apple moving to Apple silicon led to Mac sales the likes of which we’d never seen before.
This year the Mac came back to Earth. At $29.4 billion, sales were actually up slightly from 2020’s $28.6 billion. What seemed like a rocket to the stratosphere now looks like a two year aberration. The good news for Apple is that after all those new sales, the Mac didn’t regress back to its late-2010s sales numbers. Instead, even with a precipitous decline in sales, the Mac sold more in 2023 than it did in 2020.
My guess is that the Mac will resume its slow build from this new baseline and we’ll see Mac sales in the low $30 billion range for the next few years. A less bullish person might warn that we’re still seeing the downward slope of the sales spike, but I really can’t imagine the Mac going below the numbers it consistently hit in the mid-2010s. I’m going to guess that 2021 and 2022 didn’t just feature existing Mac users refreshing their devices, but also new Mac users coming into the market, expanding the user base and pushing the “regular” Mac sales year to a new plateau. I guess we’ll see in a year.
Last year was rough for the iPad, but this year—with no new iPad announcements at all!—was rougher:
After a nice spike in 2021, iPad sales are down for the second consecutive year. However, it’s all a matter of perspective. Even in a year with no new iPads, $28 billion in iPad sales means that the iPad had its third best sales year since 2015.
Will history repeat itself, with the iPad receding into a six-year slide into the doldrums of low-$20-billion years? I’m doubtful. My expectations are that the iPad is going to live in the upper $20 billions now, and next year might be even better because of a complete refresh of the line.
Now let’s look at the popular and growing Services and Wearables, Home, and Accessories lines:
After eight straight years of annual growth, Wearables took the year off. $40 billion is still a huge number (more than double the 2018 total!) but there’s a lack of growth here that probably won’t be cured by the arrival of Vision Pro next year.
But Services continues to grow, and at a similar pace to its growth last year. Services has rapidly become Apple’s second most important financial line after the iPhone.
This brings us to the final chart, which I run here every year just to put all of Apple’s product lines in the proper context. When I run the numbers as individual charts, they all seem more or less the same. But they are very definitely not all created equal. (It’s still impressive to see Services lift away from the others, though.)
Meet you back here next year for more annual charts!
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