Apple's iPhones have never been cheap when compared to other flagship smartphones from other brands. The US-based technology giant charges a premium for its devices and it's this premium has always helped the company become the most profitable brands time and again.
Last year, Apple launched the iPhone X – it's most expensive iPhone model to date and as usual, the phone's sky-high price-tag seems to have helped Apple make enough profit to become the most profitable brand in the world once again. Apple managed to capture around 86 percent of the total handset market profits in Q4 of 2017, according to a report by Counterpoint Research.
In fact, the report details that Apple's 10th anniversary-edition iPhone X alone generated close to 35 percent of the total handset industry profits.
"Apple grew 1 percent year-on-year (YoY) even with the iPhone X being available for only two months in Q4 2017. The iPhone X alone generated 21 percent of the total industry revenue and 35 percent of the total industry profits during the quarter," said Karn Chauhan, research analyst at Counterpoint, in a statement.
Apple's feat is remarkable since it managed to generate industry-leading profits despite the premium smartphone industry, on the whole, witnessing very little growth in the fourth quarter of last year, with global handset profits dipping by 1 percent (YoY).
It's also worth noting that the iPhone X (REVIEW) was made available only after October in many markets due to availability issues, but the premium smartphone with the notch-based display generated five times more profits than the rest of the 600-plus Android original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) combined during Q4 2017.
The report also details that the share of the iPhone X is likely to grow as it advances into its life-cycle. Apple's iPhones have a comparatively longer shelf-life than most other smartphones and this too has contributed a lot to the profit numbers. In fact, eight out of the top 10 smartphones generating the most profits are iPhones including its three-year-old iPhone 6.
This year's iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, along with last year's iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, led the list of the top 10 smartphones that captured 90 percent of the total handset profits. Apart from the iPhones, only the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8 Plus managed to feature in the top 10 list, at No 6 and No 8 respectively.
The report also highlights that older iPhone models like iPhone 7 and iPhone 6 generated more profits than some of the newer Android flagships from major smartphone OEMs.
The global smartphone market has already reached its peak and with people holding on to their older smartphones for longer, the pressure is now high on key smartphone OEMs to book decent profits.
Major Chinese players like Huawei, Oppo and Vivo are now looking to scale up their smartphone prices by launching more smartphones in the premium segment and bringing innovation to their devices. Huawei, which is also the world's third-largest smartphone manufacturer (after Samsung and Apple), became the leading brand among all Chinese OEMs with its profits increasing 59 percent year on year and most of the profit can be attributed to its the Mate 10 series of premium smartphones.
The iPhone X was unveiled September 12, 2017, but was available only two months later in most markets including in India where it was launched November 3. The premium smartphone was priced at Rs 89,000 for the 64GB storage model and Rs 1,02,000 for the 256GB storage model.