Apple Supply-Chain Sales Dip in April, But Still Strong: Report

Apple's supply-chain sales took a slight month-over-month dip in April, according to a new analyst report. However, overall supply-chain sales remained strong.

Apple experienced weaker-than-average supply-chain sales in April, according to a new analyst report.

"For the [Taiwanese] suppliers that make up our Apple Barometer, March is typically the strongest month of the year, and this has generally been followed by a muted April," Brian White, an analyst with Ticonderoga Securities, wrote in a May 11 research note. "This year, April sales declined more than average."

How much more than average? Unconsolidated April sales declined 7.5 percent month-over-month, coming off an unusually strong March-a notable contrast to April 2010, when sales rose 4 percent.

Despite that decline, April 2011 sales were up 113 percent year-over-year. "Despite a weaker than normal April this year, the Apple Barometer can deliver average sequential sales growth performance in 2Q11 versus historical metrics," White added. "We also believe it is important to remember that Apple's outlook for the June quarter called for a sequential sales decline of 7 [percent], much weaker than the eight-year average increase of up to 5 [percent]."

Ticonderoga creates its index from "various Taiwan-based suppliers that derive a significant portion of their revenues from Apple," but doesn't disclose the individual companies used in its measurements.

For the fiscal 2011 second quarter ended March 26, Apple reported revenues of $24.67 billion and a net profit of $5.99 billion. That represents a significant rise from the year-ago quarter, when the company logged revenues of $13.50 billion and a quarterly profit of $3.07 billion.

Apple sold 3.76 million Macs, a year-over-year increase of 28 percent, and 18.65 million iPhones, good for a year-over-year unit growth of 113 percent. Apple also sold 4.7 million iPads during the quarter, which saw the release of the next-generation iPad 2. "We sold every iPad 2 that we could make during the quarter," Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer told analysts and media listening to the company's April 20 earnings call, while hinting that the 9.7-inch tablet appeals to both consumers and businesses. "Seventy-five percent of the Fortune 500 are testing or deploying the iPad," he said.

Apple topped Google as the world's most valuable brand, according to research agency Millward Brown's sixth annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study. Based on its own formula, the firm suggested that Apple's "brand value" stands at $153.2 billion, followed by Google with $111.4 billion and IBM with $100.8 billion. Microsoft, with a brand value of $78.2 billion, found itself squeezed in fifth place between McDonalds ($81 billion) and Coca-Cola ($73.7 billion). Apple's current ranking represents an 84 percent uptick in brand value since Millward Brown's last survey.

Apple finds itself entangled in a wide-ranging battle with Google in the tablet and smartphone arena, while its Mac OS continues to hold a small portion of the operating-system market dominated by Windows.