Apple Hopes Xs Mark The Spot as U.S. Handset Imports Slide, Values Rise — Panjiva


Apple Hopes Xs Mark The Spot as U.S. Handset Imports Slide, Values Rise

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Apple’s annual launch of new mobile iPhone handsets (Xs, Xs Max and Xr) brings three new models at higher price points than the prior year, S&P Global Market Intelligence reports. That’s part of an ongoing quest to improve revenues in the smartphone sector.

Panjiva data shows that U.S. imports normally peak ahead of the holiday season with a peak in November and an initial ramp up from July onwards. So far in 2018 the number of handsets imported has fallen by 13.0% on a year earlier, while total deliveries in 2017 (238 million handsets) fell for the third straight year by 2.9%.


Chart segments U.S. imports of mobile phones (HS 8517.12) by month.    Source: Panjiva

The hope for the phone manufacturers, including Apple, is that higher prices per phone can offset falling volume sales. In that regard the average import value per handset in the past 12 months has risen by 6.8% on a year earlier, including a 10.8% improvement in the value of imports from China – Apple’s main production location. That resulted in a record $254 / handset from $234 in 2017 and $208 in 2016. A downturn since the start of the year likely reflects the normal seasonality of iPhone releases.

The main challenge for Apple, and other China-reliant smartphone makers, may be regulatory in nature rather than commercial. The risk comes from the pressure of tariffs by the Trump administration. So far, the product group has proven immune though that could change should current talks to avert widening tariffs fail, as outlined in Panjiva research of September 13.


Chart segments average import value per phone handset by origin on a monthly (dotted) and quarterly average (solid) basis.    Source: Panjiva

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