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What Do Apple’s Latest Sales Figures Tell us About Web Design?

22nd October 2014

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This week Apple released impressive fourth-quarter results, dispelling any notions that the Californian company are losing their touch.

Apple reported revenue of $42.1billion from June-September – growth of 12% – significantly surpassing Wall Street forecasts in the process.

The release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus has stimulated rapid growth, with 39.3 million smartphones sold worldwide in the quarter. Apple share prices pushed through $101 in response to the news.

What do Apple’s latest sales figures tell us about web design?

As a UK website company we’re fascinated by business – and we love technology and design. However, what really interests us is the impact that business and technology news has on the website design industry. This is particularly relevant when we’re talking about market leaders such as Apple and Samsung because their product launches have a shaping impact on the mass market. We’d go so far as to say that if Apple or Samsung release a new product this will have an impact on our web design services within a matter of months. The release of smart watches, for example, has the potential to redefine the way that we build websites and think about accessibility.

The question, then, is what do Apple’s latest sales figures tell us about web design? We’ve had a look at the breakdown of individual product sales and it’s pretty clear that a dominant trend has appeared.

We’ve looked at Apple’s overall sales by product line, which shows that the iPhone represents around 60% of all Apple’s product sales. This has been steadily increasing from around 40% back in 2011.

When we look at the iPad, however, it’s a different story.

In the summer of 2012 iPad sales represented around 30% of all Apple product sales. However, in the latest results this figure has dipped under 15% – lower, in fact, that sales of the Mac.

There are two ways of interpreting this data. The first is that iPad are less likely to upgrade their product than iPhone users because the new devices don’t have quite the same desirability. It’s also true that the iPad experiences less wear’n’tear than the iPhone, which may contribute to a longer life-span and lower sales.

The more likely outcome is that iPad sales are in permanent decline. This article in the Independent certainly believes that this is a possible outcome, even if Apple are targeting business sales. The larger size of the iPhone 6 serves to reduce the distinction between the iPhone and the iPad, even if processing power and primary usage are still very different.

What does all this mean for web designers?

The relentless growth in iPhone sales is a helpful reminder that mobile-friendly website design is essential for businesses who want to engage their users. With many of our clients experiencing 50% + of traffic from mobile devices, failing to deliver a responsive, mobile experience threatens the long-term growth of your business’ online presence.

Whilst responsive web design enables us to deliver outstanding user experience across the full range of devices, we know from this week’s figures that a huge priority for us has to be designing websites that smartphone users love.

Image: iPhone 6+ Screen on Flickr (Creative Commons)

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