Dec. 26 - Apple Inc. hit a new milestone today. Of course this isn't anything new really. Apple has been breaking records, setting trends and pioneering the world of electronic gadgetry for decades now. What sets this new milestone apart from all the others is that this particular success is due in large part to consumer confidence in the Apple brand.
Apple stock briefly spiked above $200 per share in mid-afternoon trading for the first time in Apple history. Although Nasdaq closed with the stock settled in at $198.95, the spike is uncharted success for Apple and an extremely good indicator of continued growth potential.
So what's so special about this number?
Although tech stocks continue moderate growth, they are still somewhat bee stung from the market meltdown nearly a decade ago. Computer and electronics manufacturers have enjoyed fairly solid profitability in 2007, however when it comes to stock, consumer confidence has kept the industry in low gear when it comes to stock values. Yes the gains are there, but not nearly an par with pre-recessionary growth from 6 and 7 years ago.
Apple however has enjoyed an apathy bucking surge in 2007, that has even surpassed Apple's expectations.
While much of this success can be attributed to the success of the iPod and iPhone, there's another important element in play when it comes to stock values, and that is consumer confidence.
Recent polling from the University of Michigan has showed Apple customer satisfaction CSI ratings at an all time high, while the industry dominant Dell computer brand has slipped roughly 6.3% since 2004.
The powerball component of these numbers hint that as consumers migrate over to the Apple platform, they are happy with the conversion. Most companies who are experiencing major sales growth typically has it's hands full keeping it's customer satisfaction index high.
Rapid changes in product, new user questions and the introduction of new product like the Apple iPhone, normally will bring tide after tide of customer service issues. A high CSI result, says a lot about how Apple is handling it's success. It also speaks to Apples abilities to successfully handle additional growth.
Apple stock has more than doubled since January. Apple stock has enjoyed growth from a 2007 low of $76.77 per share to a growth factor of 134% for the year. (source)
Apple also continues to increase it's share of US computer sales, capturing over 8% of overall computer sales across the US. While this number is only about 1/3 of Dell's US sales, it's almost double Apple's market share from just a few years ago. Apple is hot, and all indicators suggest this train isn't going to slow down anytime soon.
When you add the remarkable growth of Apple's computer sales together with it's dominance in the MP3 player market and successful first year with the iPhone, most experts agree that Apple's market presence has yet to reach it's apex.
Why should the consumer care about this?
Although the PC vs. Mac wars have raged on through the years with a loyal following on either side, Apple's contribution to revolutionizing the industry and pioneering completely new products has been an established and re-established reality of the industry.
Marry the research and development funds that come with rapid growth together with Apple's pioneering spirit and you end up with a sure bet that Apple will be producing some tremendously cool new products in the coming years that will make the iPod as ancient as the Walkman is today. Product revisions that took well over a decade in the past, become revised now in two or three years.
Apple has a flair for completely redesigning it's products every few years, as opposed to the Microsoft approach which has largely resisted major change. For those who are forever intrigued by the inflow of cool new gadgets and aggressive changes in computer upgrades, the future is bright. Very bright.