Over 100m dot-com domains (& nearly 10m dot-uk)

Domain tools declare that .coms have now reached the magic figure.

We sort of agree based on other statistics hosterstats  quote a 1st January figure of 99.3m and the average increase over the last couple of months was 0.5m (and the last quarter of the year is usually the least active time of the year domainwise).

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To get some worldwide perspective we have roughly charted the top 20 domains as at the end (in certain cases 3rd quarter) of 2011. Some registries only report information quarterly and also certain information was unavailable from hosterstats database. There are another 30 odd top level domains with a further 15.4 million ish domains.

The top 20 cover over 90% of the total domain registrations.

Did Kindle Fire propel amazon to over $50 billion sales?

Kindle Fire shipment forecasts for quarter 4 of 2011 have varied from  3.9 to 4 to 5 and now even 6 million.  Our view has been around 4.5 million.

amazon announce their annual results tomorrow after Wall Street closes.

Their sales in the first three quarters total $30.75bn. Their guidance, given with the last quarters results, back in October, was a range from $16.45-$18.65bn for the holiday quarter. For the year that comes to $47.2 – $49.4bn. The market consensus seems to be $48.85bn.

Some research has suggested that the average content purchases per Kindle Fire are about $136.

So a calculation of 2011 revenues might be Q 3 cumulative sales $30.75 + top end amazon guidance $18.65 plus say 2 million extra Kindle Fires & content @ $335 ( $199+$136) is $0.67 which all totals $50.07bn.

It’s just possible!

NB Likely amazon may not divulge the number of Kindle Fires shipped/sold or  they possibly may mix it up with their other Kindles.

World Economic Annual Forum 2012 – Livestream


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Apple & Samsung joint #1 in smartphones

Both Strategy Analyticsand IHS iSuppli  are reporting that Apple lead the worldwide sales of smartphones in quarter 4 of 2011. We beg to differ.

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Samsung have reported their quarter 4 results  but apparently don’t disclose their unit sales of smartphones . Analysts have assessed these as being 36.5 million in the quarter. Both iSuppli and Strategy Analytics  reports are expressed in millions but the latter includes a decimal place. They report Samsung’s as 36 million and 36.5 million

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Apple’s quarter 1 2012 results as we mentioned yesterday cover a 14 week period from 26 September to 31 December. So compared to the calendar quarter they have an extra 5 days ie 26-30 September inclusive.

The iPhone 4s (undoubtedly a heavy driver of sales in Q4) was announced on 4 October. So in seeking to make any adjustment to Apples calendar quarter 4 volumes of 37.044 million we believe it would be not unreasonable to base this on the previous quarters unit sales of 17.073 million (pro rata 187,615 per day). Five days therefore would account for 938,000 units. So their adjusted quarter 4 unit sales would become 36.106 million.

So this is just greater than IHS  iSuppli’s figure of 36 million but 0.4 million less than Strategy Analytics.

On balance we reckon this is “too close to call” and therefore declare a draw with them both sharing the top spot!

Whilst looking at these numbers we came up with what we think is a rather nice statistic.

During the last quarter of the year Apple were selling over FOUR  iPhones a  SECOND!

Smashing tablets

Strategy Analytics have just released their global tablet shipment figures for Q4 of 2011. They analyse them by operating systems rather than manufacturer. Their annual figures are 66.9 (18.6) million.

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Apple’s figures for the last quarter of 2011 are 15.434 (7.331) million BUT these are not strictly comparable as their quarter covered 14 weeks. Either Tim Cook or Peter Oppenheimer mentioned in their conference call on the results that by and large the extra 7 days this year from 25-31 December represented about a 1/14 of the quarters shipments. This we reckon approximates 1 million units.

Of the android units amazon’s Kindle Fire likely accounted for between 4 and 4.5 million units. The Kindle Fire started shipping in the US from mid November. Tim Cook indicated that he didn’t believe the Kindle Fire introduction had reduced iPad sales.

Now on to the biblical tablets!.

The Boston Consulting Group have just published their report The Tablet Market – Not carved in stone – Consumer trends and market segmentation. It can be read/downloaded in full on registration.

Following their global research (8,700 online consumer respondents in q4 of 2011 from the eight top markets worldwide  USA UK Germany France Italy Spain Japan & China) they think the market is “… still very much up for grabs.”

Usage patterns confirm other research ie replacing Netbooks Laptops & PCs and being used primarily at home for web access. Work usage would increase they have ascertained (two thirds all respondents) by speed improvements and windows availability (particularly in China they noted). We’re not sure on the work front – we feel it is primarily a toy/status symbol!

On the pricing front they have some interesting reactions to asking how much their respondents are prepared to pay for a multipurpose tablet (increase from 2010):

  • USA     – $140 – $240 ($35)
  • Europe – $250-$350 ($100)
  • China    – $280-$440 ($185)

They think, and we tend to agree, that the US “views may have been shaped by the advent of the $199 Kindle Fire …” which had just been announced at the time of their survey. They interpret the results as indicating that the iPad at $499 minimum in the US is priced too high for many consumers.

We liked one of their closing comments – “New uses-some not yet invented, others not even imagined-will fuel continued growth and take usage in unforeseen directions”.

Apple the largest corporation in the world

The company is today again the largest worldwide corporation in market value terms overtaking Exxon Mobil. Current value is about $425 bn.

Q1 2012  Earnings Release Roundup

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We’re not going to apologise for our estimates, apart from the iPhone volumes, which like many others we severely underestimated! Taking into account their Q2 guidance we are currently vacillating between 25mn & 30mn iPhone sales. It’s just as well that Tim Cook’s “also a manufacturing guru and a master of managing the supply chain” Amber Tate 

Possibly a classic comment from Apple’s CFO Peter Oppenheimer, concerning their cash mountain of $97.6bn was we believe “ ……. we continue to be very disciplined with the cash and are not letting it burn a hole in our pockets”. There were then many questions (and answers) in the Q & A session concerning its use. Our guess is that they will try to directly improve their p/e ratio & hence stock value. This might be achieved by dividends (the last one it made was in 1995) but hopefully not by any share buy back programmes or huge  acquisitions.

China was also a  major topic in the Q & A session.

We have no position in Apple Inc.


GDP and .UK domain registrations down

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The Office for National Statistics have just released their Preliminary Estimate for Gross Domestic Product for Quarter 4 of 2011 which shows a predicted, but disappointing, negative quarter on quarter figure of -.2%.

The tracking we noticed with Q4 registrations  appears to be continuing but fortunately our worst fears did not materialise.

As .uk registrations for the first couple of months of 2012 are published by Nominet we will start producing some very tentative estimates of GDP for the first quarter caveated with massive health warnings!

If the GDP figures are revised significantly by the ONS we will repost this graph.


All our data is annualised. Base data is quarter on quarter change.



The Office for National Statistics

Outstanding results from Apple

Results detail here - WOW! 37.0m iPhones sold & 15.4m iPads!


Apple analysis paralysis

Apple is due to announce its 1st Quarter 2012 results today after Wall Street closes. Our graphic tries to summarise the conflicting analysis that surrounds these results, and adds to it, by including our, definitely upper quartile, view!

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We have found a couple of really excellent insights into the forecasting game.

The first comes from Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune and it summarises the Independent analysts as well as the Institutional/Market view. We’ve included his spreadsheet showing the constituents of both categories

The second is close to a “How to do your own forecast of Apple’s earnings per share” from Andy Zaky at Seeking Alpha. He takes you from the Apple earnings guidance information to his/your forecast. We feel he’s a little unkind to Apple in deriding their guidance particularly as it is issued usually a couple of months ahead of the period to which it relates eg this one was issued on 18 October .  Having said that it’s a superb article with a straightforward explanation of his methodology.

In our estimate we built up the sales figures from units using the following Average Selling Prices (ASP’s):

  •  Mac -    $1,300
  • iPad -       $625
  • iPhone -   $650
  • iPod –      $175

It’s interesting to note that since the iPod started shipping back in 2001 all major new product introductions have had higher prices. Also noteworthy are their introduction dates 2007 & 2010.

This quarter will see an Apple product having the highest ever unit sales volumes with 30mn ish iPhones surpassing the iPods maximum of 22.7mn unit sales in their Quarter 1 of 2009.

In Worldwide Market terms the mobile market in 2012 is reckoned at about 1.8bn handsets and is far and away the largest market Apple competes in. It arguably created the iPod & iPad/(tablet) markets and the latter may be 130mn units this year with Apple likely having  more than 50% thereof.

The way forward – well to keep up anywhere near its phenomenal growth rate it has to continue with its trend of introducing high ASP devices either displacing existing products or creating/expanding a product market.

TV’s are the analysts favourite and with an existing market of around 250m per annum its certainly large enough. We are still going for “i” or “iVision” as the name rather than iTV. As far as other future products are concerned we have no doubt that at least 1 or 2 are under serious development in Cupertino but will they ever surpass the 30mn figure for quarterly sales?

After release of their results we will update our graphic and apologise for our grossly inaccurate estimate!

A technical point on Apples accounting period follows plus details of how to listen to their webcast of their results and links to a couple more analysts views even at this late stage!

Apple does a 13 week quarter with its year end on the last Saturday in September and to keep in balance with our rather illogical calendar every six years or so it has to have a 14 week quarter which it attributes to the first quarter. This is such a quarter – the last one was in 2006.

Apple will be broadcasting its conference call at 10pm GMT tonight as follows:

“WEBCAST: Apple will provide live audio streaming of its FY 12 First Quarter Results Conference Call using Apple’s industry-leading QuickTime® multimedia software. The live webcast will begin at 2:00 p.m. PST on January 24, 2012 at www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/earningsq112 and will also be available for replay for approximately two weeks thereafter. The webcast is available on any iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch® or any Mac® or PC running QuickTime 6 or later. If you do not have QuickTime installed on your Windows PC, it is available at www.apple.com/quicktime.”

A couple or three  late / up to the minute analysts views:

iPhones are tops

Can Apple keep it up

Apple leading the way

Internet Retail sales hit record level in December

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS)   published the monthly retail sales figures for December at the end of last week.

The sort of consensus view on the overall figures were that, “ … retail sales data for December were broadly in line with expectations indicating a reasonably buoyant Christmas, although November data was revised down” which came from Barclays Capital . There was also a possible hope that they just might indicate the avoidance of negative GDP growth in the last quarter.

The initial estimate for GDP is out on Wednesday this week (Burns night!)

INTERNET SALES  (definition per the ONS – “The experimental (see last months post)  Internet Sales estimates include sales made over the internet by all retailers that is they include on-line sales from supermarkets, department stores, clothing stores and predominantly non-store retailers)” were again buoyant at £4.2bn exceeding our £4bn in a month for the first time estimate in November.

Year on year the annual increase is 22.3% with the December month 2011/10 being 27.9% higher. 2011′s  last quarter v’s 2010 shows an increase of 23.7%.

As the figures are not seasonally adjusted the weekly November to December 2011 increase of about 13% is pretty meaningless. Novembers headline figure last month of Internet sales being 12.2% of retail has been revised down to 11.5%. This months figure is 10.9%.

We may before next months release experiment with some seasonal adjustments to help us forecast this years outcome. Based on the average compound growth rate since 2007 of 28.3%, and giving some weighting to recent results, might imply weekly/monthly sales of hopefully a little over £555mn/£2.3bn in January.