Apple is the greatest corporate comeback story of modern times. Despite being the first (if not the only) company ever to make computers cool, Apple was gradually squeezed towards the margins of the industry during the 1990s by the combined force of the ubiquitous PC and Microsoft's Windows. But after a difficult decade, when the company's long-term future sometimes looked bleak, the business experienced an extraordinary resurrection after 2001. Initially carving out a new niche for itself in downloadable music, Apple became not just cool again, but cooler than ever before. The huge success of the iPod music player had a significant knock-on effect on sales on Mac computers, but it was nothing compared to extraordinary popularity of its successor, the iPhone, which has almost singlehandedly reinvented the business of wireless communications. The subsequent launch of iPad ushered in a completely new age of mobile computing, driving the company's market value to heights that would have been unthinkable even ten years earlier. The untimely death of presiding genius Steve Jobs in 2011 did nothing to halt Apple's extraordinary rise. Under his successor Tim Cook, the unstoppable global demand for iPhone had established Apple as the world's most valuable corporation by 2015 and the most widely respected technology developer. Sales of iPhone finally began to slow in 2016, but rising prices and continuing improvements in its features have kept the device as the world's most valuable handset brand. Nevertheless, fierce competition has eroded Apple's market share: it slipped to 3rd place in global smartphone sales during 2019 behind Samsung and Huawei. Subsequent hardware devices - such as Apple Watch - have proved only modest hits compared to iPhone. Instead, Apple has turned its attention to keeping its large established userbase entertained with an aggressive push into software, services and now entertainment. The company launched its own subscription-based streaming channel, Apple+, in 2019. Services are now the group's second largest revenue stream after iPhone. In a rare third-party acquisition, Apple purchased high-end headphones manufacturer Beats Electronics in 2014. Otherwise, all products are marketed under the Apple brand. Revenues peaked in the year to Sept 2018 at a record $265.6bn, before slipping back in ye 2019 to $260.2bn, while net income fell from $59.5bn in 2018 to $55.3bn. Sales of iPhone slipped from $165bn to $142bn.
Capsule checked 29th October 2019
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Historical profile information for Apple
Adbrands Daily Update 17th Mar 2020: French regulators handed Apple the country's biggest ever fine for anti-competitive activities. It has demanded a €1.1bn penalty from the hardware giant on three separate charges, including conspiring with its two main local wholesalers to fix prices for Apple products for more than a decade from 2005 to 2013, and also effectively imposing prices on some retailers from 2012 to 2017 by implying a threat of non-delivery in the event of unauthorised promotions. Apple called the French competition authority's decision "disheartening" and said it would appeal.
Adbrands Daily Update 16th Mar 2020: Apple was the first major retailer to announce the closure of its global retail network in the face of spreading Coronovirus. All its hundreds of stores outside China will close for at least two weeks. (At the same time, the stores in China, which had already been closed, reopened in response to the slowing spread of infection in that country). Apple's announcement prompted many other retailers to follow suit. Abercrombie & Fitch, Nike, Under Armour and Urban Outfitters were among the companies to close their stores in the US. Most are also closing international outlets in Europe and Oceania. Starbucks said it would close some US stores, reduce opening hours at others, and restrict thousands more to take-out service only.
Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Mar 2020: "A New World To Play In". Commercials director Ian Pons Jewell is - as they used to say before the movie Zoolander lampooned the phrase - "so hot right now". We recently featured his extraordinary future-vision for mobile operator Three; here's an equally jaw-dropping film for Apple to promote the company's Arcade streaming service. The usual Jewell trademarks are all present: not least, extensive use of digital trickery, swooping and seemingly impossible camera moves and an oddball sense of ironic humour. It's a fantastic piece of work.
Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Feb 2020: Latest global smartphone research from IDC reflects the stellar results recently posted by Apple for the final three months of 2019. The huge popularity of the iPhone 11 allowed Apple to leapfrog Samsung for the first time in three years to become the #1 smartphone brand by global shipments. Precisely one out of every five smartphones purchased in the holiday quarter was made by Apple, ahead of Samsung with 18.8% share. Huawei slipped back to third place on 15.2%. However iPhone 11's end-of-year surge wasn't enough to change the full year ranking. It remained in the #3 spot behind Samsung and Huawei. Xiaomi and Oppo held their customary positions as #4 and #5.
Adbrands Daily Update 29th Jan 2020: Apple took investors by surprise with better than expected figures for the first quarter of its new financial year. The general assumption had been that topline had passed its peak as a result of slowing sales of iPhone. Last year Apple reported its first decline in year-on-year sales for more than a decade. Yet for the latest quarter to December, Apple's revenues and profits both reached new record levels. Topline jumped to $91.8bn while net income was $22.2bn. Strong demand (and high prices) for the iPhone 11 prompted an 8% surge in sales to almost $56bn, its second best ever performance (though still below the $61bn reported two years ago). There was also a 37% jump in sales of wearables (especially AirPods) and 17% in services such as downloads and streaming TV subscriptions.
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