i.External limitations of SWOT analysis include increase in prices of raw material, new Government laws introduction, economic environments, imports and exports restrictions etc.
ii.Internal limitations of SWOT analysis include poor management of research and development facilities, poor quality control, lack of skilled labour etc.
Return on capital employed
Source: financial to Apple (Gurufocus, 2013) and consequently paying more for interest payment reducing net income.
One of the reasons for the declining ratio for Apple in 2013 is decreased share price and loss of valuation of Apple of about $125 billion. Reason for this decline is decreasing margins and market share of Apple for Android (Sparks, 2013)
Gross Margin Ratio
Source: Financial statement of Apple and Samsung
Apple’s Gross margin ratio has a decline in 2013 and went to 37.62% as compared to 43.9% in 2012. Reason for this decline is increase in Cost of Sales and decrease in G.P in FY 2013. AS selling price of iphone fell by $28 because the most popular phones are still iphone 4 & 4s. Average selling price for ipad decreased to 449 almost a drop of 200 as compared to 2 years earlier (CNN Money, 2013)
On the other hand Samsung increased to 40% in 2013 as compared to 37% in 2012. Due to increased sales and increased gross margin in year 2013. According to Gartner (leading information technology research and advisory company) Samsung was no.1 in 2013 vendor list and represented 31% of market share. Apple ranked 3rd with 15.6% market share (Olega, 2014)
Apple’s gross margin ratio increased to 38.59% in 2014 as sales and gross margin also increased in 2014 even better than in 2012. Reason was increased demand for iphone 6 enabling Apple to increase its margins too. Apple was China’s no 1 seller of smart phones by units shipped in Q4 of 2014 (BBC, 2015)
Samsung’s gross margin ratio fell down to 38% due to decreased sales and decreased gross margins in 2014. Samsung has decreased prices for Galaxy S5 to encourage sales at cost to its margins. But they are decreasing their costs too as said by Lee Min-Lee, an analyst at IM Investment (Kim, 2014)
Apple’s gross margin ratio has been deteriorating due to pressure it is facing by competitors to decrease its prices and declining sales. Samsung seems better at overcoming this problem by reducing costs. But it still hardly gets equal to Apple’s gross margin ratio.
Supporting statement: Samsung is trying to increase its market share by decreasing prices but overcoming this problem by reducing costs as well. On the other hand Apple is not really reducing its prices but still managing good profit margins by new products and innovations like introduction of iphone 6 (Reuters, 2014)
Profit margin ratio
Source: Financial statements of Apple and Samsung
In FY 2012 profit margin ratio of Apple was 26.67% but fell in 2013 and went to 21.67%. Because profits of Apple fell in 2013 according to BBC Apple has a fall in profits for the first time in decade. As seen in gross profit margin ratio analysis of Apple inc, Apple is facing profit and margins problems due to slowing demands for its products. Tim cook also admitted their growth rate is slowing down as compared to the growth and margins in 2012. People are turning towards their rival product like Samsung especially due to offers they made to consumers (BBC, 2013). Apple’s costs also increased in 2013 from 88 billion to 107 billion this year. Including selling expenses and R&D costs etc (Koetsier, 2013)
Profit margin ratio of Samsung is increased in 2013 and went to 16.08 in 2013 as compared to 14.23 in 2012. Samsung has a record year with revenue increase of 14% from last year and operating profit were also increased by 27% in 2013. Samsung mobiles were responsible for more than half revenues of company and they also enjoyed strong sales of Galaxy tab 3 and Galaxy not 10.1 (Smith, 2014)
Apple’s profit margin ratio stayed constant in 2014 with 21.61%. But it showed an increased sales and increased profits in 2014. Apple sold 169.2 million iphones that is a record. According to Tim Cook iphone 6 and iphone 6 launch was biggest iphone launch ever (Golson, 2014) These reasons have contributed to increase in sales and income and keeping profit margin constant for FY 2014.
On the other hand, Samsung’s profit margin ratio falls in 2014 resulting in 12.13% as income and profits fell in 2014. Profits fell by 27% and mobiles sales also decreased especially due to increased competition in Chinese market (BBC, 2015)
Apple’s profits and GP ratio is falling but it still better than Samsung electronics due to its innovations and technological advancements strategies. Apple has also given Samsung a great competition in China market with launch of iphone 6.
Supporting statement: Apple became no.1 smart phone company in China in the last quarter of 2014 (BBC, 2015) Apple dominated Samsung Galaxy phones through its iphone 6 launch. Samsung is not only facing competition from Apple but also from cheaper Chinese rivals including Xiaomi, making its income and sales declined in China market (BBC, 2015)
Working capital ratio
Source: Financial statements of Apple and Samsung
In 2012 Apple inc’s working capital ratio was 1.49 which was quiet stable as it indicates company has not only enough resources to pay the current liabilities as they fall due but it will be left with some current assets to run day to day business or re investment. And in FY 2013 it even further increased to 1.68. Apple has strong liquidity position according to the Telegraph Apple has reserves of £95 billion that were even greater than cash reserves of some states (Murray-Morris, 2014)
Samsung had quiet high ratio of 1.85 in 2012 that further increased to 2.16 in 2013. It means that company has more than enough current assets to cover its current liabilities. It is good for its liquidity position but at the same time not really helpful for the business because it implies that Samsung is not employing its excess current assets.
Fall in current ratio of Apple inc is alarming as it stood at 1.08 that is very close to 1 which is considered to be neither risky nor safe. The main reason being increase in current liabilities not only payables but other liabilities have also gone up too including a commercial paper of $6308000000 (from financial statements of Apple)
Samsung on the other hand has increased its Current asset ratio. It seems like it is hoarding money. They need to invest its excess current assets to efficiently run the business. It is good to have enough current assets to cover its current liabilities but current ratio of above 2 is not considered very helpful.
Although current assets of Apple inc was good in FY 2013 and 2013 but fell to 1.08 that need to be kept there if not improved. Samsung is not investing excess current assets despite of bad financial conditions faced in 2104.
Supporting statement: Samsung is facing pressure from investors and politician to invest money. Korean Government is also promoting a plan to impose 10% tax on excessive reserves to encourage companies including Samsung electronics to stop hoarding and invest excess money (Einhorn, 2014)
Quick ratio/ Acid test ratio
Source: financial statements of Apple and Samsung
Apple’s quick ratio increased from 1.24 in 2012 to 1.40 in 2013. It means Apple’s liquid assets are greater than its current liabilities and company is able to settle its current liabilities on very short notice.
Samsung quick ratio increased from 1.37 in 2012 to 1.55 in 2013. Samsung has better liquidity position in 2013 as compared to Apple.
Supporting statement: Samsung has better liquidity position but it should re-invest money as financial conditions of Samsung electronics were not good in FY 2014. It should stop hoarding money and utilise it properly otherwise it will be forced to do so by the Korean Government (Einhorn, 2104)
Inventory turnover ratio
Source: Financial statements of Apple and Samsung
Apple’s inventory turnover ratio was at 112.11 in 2012 but went to 83.44 in year 2013. Reasons for decreased ratio were increase in inventory levels and increase in costs due to increase in cost of marketing and cost of holding. Apple’s iphone 5 has lost sales because iphone 4 and 4s were still more popular than iphone 5. And ipad mini’s popularity is dragging down demand for the normal ipads. Apple has also facing competition for tablets from rivals too. All these reasons have caused demand for Apple products to decrease. That is why increase in inventory levels is seen in year 2013 dropping the inventory turnover ratio (CNN Money, 2013)
Samsung inventory turnover ratio is also decreased from 7.68 in year 2012 to 7.48 in 2013. But as compared to Apple inc ratio Samsung is more efficient in managing its inventory. It can also be evidenced by the rise in profits and income in year 2013.
Inventory turnover ratio further decreased for Apple and went to 57.94 due to increase in inventory. Apple’s sales for iphone 6 has increased sales for its phone but sales for ipads was still decreasing making inventory level to rise further in year 2014 (Thompson, 2014) Apple should decrease its stock by getting rid of its old inventory of iphones and ipads even at lower prices.
Samsung ratio further decreased to 7.04 in 2014. As Samsung has decreased demands especially due to increase sales of iphone 6 by Apple. Apple’s iphone 6 has also taken away market share from Samsung in China mobiles too (Rigby, 2015)
Apple’s inventory management is not as efficient as Samsung as Samsung decreased prices to increase sales to get rid of its old inventory. Samsung is getting advantage of Apple’s higher prices by making different offers to customers.
Supporting statement: Apple is losing its shares to competitors including Samsung as they are offering variety to customers to choose from different prices and designs (Associated press, 2014)
Receivable turnover ratio
Source: Financial statements of Apple and Samsung
Apple receivable turnover ratio was quiet good in 2012 and stood at 14.32 but decreased to 13.04 in 2013 as Apple’s receivable were increased in 2013 as compared to 2012. It means Apple’s management has reduced its efficiency at collecting outstanding sales.
On the other hand Samsung receivable turnover ratio was half the ratio of Apple in 2012. It was 7.65 in 2012 but showed a slight increase in 2013 and went to 8.22 increasing its efficiency in collecting receivables.
A sharp decrease in ratio of Apple Inc is seen as it went to 10.47. It is not a good sign for business as it shows less liquid debtors. It can also reduce liquidity position of business.
Samsung ratio decreased to 7.3 in 2014. Constant decrease in efficiency in collecting receivables can cause cash flow problems.
Apple’s receivable turnover ratio is decreasing year on year but it is still better than Samsung electronics but both companies are facing problems and are losing efficiency in collecting receivables.
Supporting statement: Reduced efficiency in collecting receivables is affecting current and quick ratios of Apple especially in 2014 as evidenced in analysis of current and quick ratio of Apple.
Debt to equity ratio
Source: Financial statements of Apple and Samsung
0.49 of debt to equity shows that company uses half as many liabilities as equity to finance the assets. In 2012 both companies were at 0.49 which is a good ratio but in year 2013 Apple raised its ratio resulting in 0.675. It means Apple is taking on more debt. And the debt is used to finance the payout to share holders. Taking on debt is also believed to improve stock performance of Apple (Lattman and Peter, 2013)
Samsung debt to equity ratio decreased in 2013, moving down to 0.43 it shows Samsung has financially stable business than Apple it has lower level of risks. And equity holders are funding the operations more than debt holders.
Apple’s debt to equity ratio increased even further and went to 1.078 times. It means more of company’s operations are financed by debt as compared to equity. The main reason for taking on more debt is to finance stock buybacks and paying dividends. It seems a new strategy from CEO Tim Cook as it is a noticeable increase in debt as compared to the period when Steve Jobs was CEO of the company (Krantz, 2015)
Supporting statement: Apple is selling debts for the first time in two decades and it is taking the advantage of cheap debts. As according to Bill Larkin of Cabot money management it is very cheap to borrow money those days (Krantz, 2013) and it seems that Apple is going to take advantage from this opportunity by taking more and more debt.
SWOT Analysis on Apple Inc
Strengths of Apple Inc
1: Brand name: Its brand name is considered to be the key for its success. As instead of higher prices charged people are still buying its products due to its brand and quality.
Supporting statement: According to a report by WPP PLC Apple became the world’s most valuable brand (Culpan, 2011)
2: Innovations: Apple always made highly innovative products. It is dragging the market share of competitors through its capability to innovate and launch new products. Apple innovate products and competitors follow their products.
Supporting statement: According to the annual report, on the world’s most innovative company, of the Boston consulting group Apple has been ranked no.1 in year 2014 (Barba, 2014)
3: Customers loyalty: Apple has got strong customer loyalty. People who use Apple’s products stick to it and buy new Apple’s product in case they need upgraded products and they are not willing to switch to other products by their rivals and other companies
Supporting statement: Iphone users are admitting they are blindly loyal to Apple, according to a report by The Telegraph (The Telegraph, 2015)
4: Cash Reserves: Apple has lots of cash reserves to invest and expand its business. Cash reserves are very important in smooth running of business and Apple has got advantage over its competitors by having large amount of cash reserves which can be used anytime to increase its efficiency.
Supporting statement: According to figure calculated by the US Trust Apple has got the largest cash reserves with £95 billion that are even greater than cash held by some states (Murray-Morris, 2014)
Weaknesses of Apple Inc
1: higher prices: Higher prices of iphones are resulting in decreased demands and lower incomes. Consumers (except the customer who are loyal to Apple) are switching towards other brands as they are offering cheap products.
Support statement: Apple Inc is under pressure to decrease prices of phones to increase its sales (Reuters, 2014)
2: Criticism due to discrimination: Apple is facing pressure and criticism from members and shareholders to increase number of women in board. As it will be able to take advice from both sex and its decision will not be considered as biased. Apple is giving wrong message to the world that it discriminate even if it do not intend to do so.
Support statement: Shareholder want Apple to add more women in Board of Directors as currently Apple has got just 1 woman in 8 member board (Satariano, 2014)
3: Decreasing profits margins: Apple is facing profit margins problem due to decreasing sales and increasing competitions. Apple’s products have shown slight decrease in prices but they are unable to decrease their costs Samsung looked better in doing it.
Support statement: CEO Tim cook admitted that Apple growth is slowing down and its sales too and it will cause continuous fall in margins in near future (CNN money, 2013)
4: Breaching rights of workers: Undercover investigation in an Apple’s factory in china showed Apple being caught breaching rights of workforce. This is not the first time for Apple to face criticism about the breach of rights of its workforce.
Support statement: As seen in the video made by a worker, workers looked exhausted as they were forced to work even 18 consecutive days without a single day off (BBC, 2014)
Opportunities for Apple Inc
1: Smart watch launch by Apple: It is a great opportunity for Apple to revive its decreasing sales, profits and growth. It can gain back its market share from rivals including Samsung. And Apple is taking advantage from this opportunity as it is working on including more apps in this product.
Support statement: CCS insight forecasts sales of 20 million units in FY 2015. While other analysts forecasted different sales level ranging between 8 million to even 60 million units in 2015 (Kelion)
2: Business Acquisitions: Acquisitions of small companies can greatly benefit Apple to enhance in technology and launch new products. It will definitely help Apple to enhance its capability to innovate. It is also a great opportunity for Apple to gain expertise of smaller companies.
Support statement: According to CEO Tim Cook Apple acquired 20 companies in 2014 to get their expertise and beat the rivals (Clover, 2014)
Threats to Apple Inc
1: Wrong perception for customer preferences: Apple is being pressurized from people to include large screen phones in its range. Former CEO Steve Jobs believed in small screen phones but it looks like it is time for a change as people are getting attracted towards big screen phones from Samsung and other rival companies.
Support statements: Apple admitted that it has made a huge mistake about people’s choice for big screen phones and not making any big screen phone competitive to other rivals (Edwards, 2014)
2: Pressures from competitors: Apple is facing great pressure from Samsung and other rivals to reduce prices as they are taking market share from Apple by offering cheap phones.
Supporting statements: Samsung is increasing market share by decreasing prices (Kim, 2014)
Porter’s five forces analysis
1: Threats of new entrants: Apple inclusive has low threats for any new entry because
•Apple has got strong loyalty from its customers
•High levels of initial costs and expenditure is required to enter competition against Apple
•Apple has patents as barriers to entry
Supporting statement: Apple won a case for two patents against its rivals Samsung. These are Steve Job Patent (Touch screen technology) and patent related to the audio socket on devices (BBC, 2013)
2: Bargaining power of buyers: Apple is facing high bargaining power of buyers as
•Consumers are forcing Apple to reduce prices
•Samsung and other rivals are making products that are substitute for Apple’s products
•Consumers are more aware of prices
Supporting statement: Apple and other companies in industry are under pressure to reduce prices to make their products affordable (Reuters, 2014)
3: Bargaining power of suppliers: Bargaining power of supplier for Apple seems high too as Apple select suppliers according to their product requirements. Switching suppliers for Apple does not look that easy.
Support statement: Hon Hi precision industry Co. Ltd (also known as foxconn) handles most of the assembly for Apple’s product. Pegatron is second supplier for assembly purposes. Quanta computers are assembler for Mac (Jones, 2013) Switching its selective suppliers will not be easy.
4: Threats for substitutes: Apple has got high level threat from threat of substitutes as
Many substitute products are available with attractive prices
Substitutes have variety of products that consumers can choose between according to their taste (like big screen or small screen phones) Samsung is taking its market share by making big screen phones.
Supporting statement: Apple admits it has made huge mistake by misunderstanding the choice of customers for big screen (Edwards, 2014)
5: Rivalry and competition: Apple has great competition from rivals especially by Samsung. Samsung is reducing prices to increase its market share making Apple’s sales to go down and decrease its margins.
Supporting statement: CEO Tim Cook admitted margins are decreasing due to reduced sales (CNN Money, 2013)