Apple records most profitable quarter ever as sales soar amid pandemic

Apple finished 2020 with its most profitable quarter ever as sales of its high end iPhones, tablets and laptops soared amid the pandemic.

The company announced that sales for the three months ending on 26 December 2020 totalled $111.4bn and it had made a profit of $28.7bn, 29% higher than the same period last year.

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The holiday period is a crucial time for Apple, accounting for 30% of its sales, and 2020’s bumper quarter was boosted by strong sales of its latest iPhone.

The blowout results, stronger than Wall Street had expected, were fueled in large part by sales of the company’s latest iPhones. iPhone revenues were $65.6bn for the quarter, up 17% year-over-year.

“We’re gratified by the enthusiastic customer response to the unmatched line of cutting-edge products that we delivered across a historic holiday season,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in a statement.

The quarterly report was Apple’s first following the launch of its iPhone 12 mini, the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

But the company performed strongly across the board with its services division, which includes its App Store and licensing deals, delivering revenues of $15.76bn, up 24% year-over-year. Other products’ revenues, including the Apple Watch and home products, were up 29% at $12.97bn and Mac sales were up 21% at $8.68bn.

Cook said that the results could have been even better if not for the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced Apple to temporarily close some of its stores around the world.

“Taking the stores out of the equation, particularly for iPhones and wearables, there’s a drag on sales,” Cook told CNBC.

Apple’s record results followed record results from Microsoft on Monday, which recorded $40bn in sales for the last quarter. Facebook, too, announced better than expected results on Tuesday, with revenues of $28bn for the last quarter.

“Our December quarter business performance was fueled by double-digit growth in each product category, which drove all-time revenue records in each of our geographic segments and an all-time high for our installed base of active devices,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer.

Apple’s shares fell 2% in after-hours trading but have risen 84% over the past 12 months.

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