Tuesday 5th of April 2022 05:28:59 AM

Apple App Store revenue growth accelerated in March, Morgan Stanley says

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store saw an acceleration in net revenue growth in March, up 7% year-over-year, Morgan Stanley said, but that was below the firm's estimates. Analyst Katy Huberty, who rates Apple overweight with a $210 price target, estimated that growth would come in at 15% year-over-year, with total Services growth at 20%, though it's possible that growth reaccelerates, as comparisons start to ease. Huberty also noted that the majority of the slowing growth came from Japan, which fell 9% year-over-year, China, which fell 1% year-over-year, and the U.S., which rose 11% year-over-year, as the three regions make up 73% of trailing twelve months revenue for the App Store. She noted that the rest of the App Store collective grew 16% year-over-year in the March quarter, compared to 21% growth in December quarter. Gaming was the only category to show a year-over-year decline, while entertainment saw a net revenue acceleration to 30% year-over-year growth. "Lastly, we'd point out that App Store net revenue per download continues to grow year-over-year (+4% year-over-year), even off a +51% year-over-year compare, showing increased monetization of the App Store, but net revenue per download is still 4% off the highs set in the September 2021 quarter," Huberty wrote. Apple (AAPL) shares were fractionally lower to $178.16 in premarket trading on Tuesday. Despite the weakness in the App Store, Huberty left her earnings estimates unchanged and added that the weakness in the App Store would be "more than offset" by better-than-expected iPhone shipment strength. The analyst expects year-over-year comparisons for the App Store to "materially ease" after it averaged 32% growth in the previous four quarters to an average of 14% over the next three quarters. "As a result, we believe it is more likely than not that App Store growth accelerates into the remainder of 2022, which would help to dispel the bear concern of a more permanent rather than temporary, COVID Y/Y compare-driven, slowdown in App Store revenue growth," Huberty explained. On Monday, investment firm UBS said that Apple's (AAPL) services such as Apple Music, Apple TV+ and iCloud are increasingly becoming a "key differentiator" for the tech giant.

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