Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ahead of Earnings: Predicting iPhone Sales

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) is set to release earnings for their fiscal Q3 2009 on Tuesday, July 21. A large part of the speculation into the shareholder value of Apple is the success of their iPhone, which launched on June 19th. In fiscal Q2 2009, Apple sold 3.79 million iPhone units globally.

Predicting the performance of iPhone sales can be tough if looking simply at searches for the term “iPhone.” These searches are subject to the volatility of news, branding, and buzz around the product. An easy filter to take a peek into how sales are performing is to add call to action keywords into search terms. Since the product is global, the analysis below takes a global look at “buy iphone” searches in English, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and German (Apple’s top iPhone market languages).

While there are not yet enough data points to run a statistically significant regression on searches to sales, eyeballing the data looks quite astounding.

The major global launch of the iPhone 3G in July 2008 appears to have skewed the data for calendar Q2 and Q3 2008, yet all other search movements appear to proportionally fall and predict the according iPhone sales numbers for that quarter. Taking Q2 and Q3 as outliers of the globalization of the iPhone, the most recent search numbers for the past quarter’s lift would indicate that iPhone sales will rise 40% in the earnings release on Tuesday.

Markets with Search prediction for fiscal Q3 2009 Apple iPhone unit sales: 5.3 million.

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