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Apple Sales vs Units Sold – Fuzzy Math Clarified

Apple Sales

Apple Sales vs Units Sold

Apple continues to thrive in a 600 billion dollar industry. Year after year the Cupertino giant dominates.  What’s curious about Apple sales success is when you compare their market share to their value. Basically, they sell less and make more. How do they do that? Historically their products cost more than their competitor’s but what makes their customers willing to pay more for their products? It goes beyond Apple’s focus on quality and design.

Global Market

Let’s start by looking at the global market for the stuff Apple sells.  A good place to do that is this recent Gartner report.  It provides a complete picture of the computing and mobile device marketplace. According to Gartner, consumers spent about $600 billion on computing and mobile devices this past year. They are projecting that this large number will grow further, at least until 2019.

Apple’s Share

Of course, mobile phones account for the biggest slice of the computing and mobile devices pie. If we were to slice up that piece of the pie Apple’s share would be about 35%.  Apple made $139 billion in 2016 from iPhone sales alone. But they sold 215 million iPhones. This is only 11% of the market.  Let me say this again, Apple made 35% of the revenue generated from mobile phone sales, but they only account for 11% of total unit sales.  This is a recurring pattern because the same is true when you look at computers and tablets.  Fewer units sold = more revenue. How do they do that?

It’s no surprise that Apple devices sell at a higher price than the market average. The products deliver value.  When you buy an Apple product you’re buying into a complete eco-system of inter-related products and services. There is also a sense that you’re buying into a culture that stands on its values concerning the environment and human rights. And a lot of consumers like that feeling. 

Apple knows where it’s success comes from and works hard to deliver not only the hardware but the software as well. They keep a watchful eye over the developer community and do a good job of keeping harmful code out of the apps in their stores. They walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to their customer’s privacy and security. Yes, their stuff is expensive but Apple customers believe it’s worth it.  I personally feel good about doing business with Apple and I hope I continue to feel that way in the coming years.

I guess all of these points contribute to answering the question, why Apple sales show they sell less and make more.

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Carmine Delligatti-Drummer, former Support Manager for Deneba Software, ACD Systems, Mareware, Inc. and Swiss Made Marketing. Avid technology blogger and Managing Editor of