“Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?” That phrase is used to describe a situation where someone who knows nothing is getting advice or information from someone else who also knows almost nothing.
Blind guides, indeed.
Last year Apple decided it would no longer publish unit sales for Mac, iPhone, and iPad every quarter as it had done for many years (and which no competitor has done this century). Why? A few reasons come to mind. First, Apple sells many other products. Second, Mac, iPhone, and iPad sales are not growing so such numbers would look bad. Third, nobody else gives out such information so now the playing field is level.
What about the blind leading the blind?
Market research companies litter planet earth with their guesstimates, many of which are pulled from locations visited only by proctologists. IDC is one of those and the company decided, altogether too confidently, that they could figure out how many iPhones Apple sold last quarter.
Bad move, blind guide. And anyone who accepted their estimated drivel is just as blind.
IDC isn’t close with their iPhone unit sales estimate for the quarter that Apple just reported. Apple sold way more than 36M iPhones. Plug 36M into an earnings model & you will find out that number is impossible to achieve given Apple’s stated iPhone revenue. Embarrassing for IDC
IDC implied that Apple’s average selling price (ASP– it’s a thing among numbers folk) went up, even while everything Apple sold was going out the door in promotions and discounts. Since Apple’s most popular iPhone was the less expensive iPhone XR, IDC’s numbers did not pass the smell test.
Their numbers stink.
Guesstimator IDC was not alone. Guesstimator Canalys came out with similar numbers.
Apart from Apple, no other smartphone makers break out their quarterly revenues from smartphones. That means market data estimates apart from iPhones are completely untethered to any real fact-checkable data.
Though Apple tossed the unit sales number in the trash, it still broke out quarter revenues by product line– iPhone, Mac, iPad, Services, and new to the mix– Wearables and Accessoris, itself a huge moneymaker.
Where do such crazy-assed numbers come from? Imaginations? Suppository destinations? You know; where the sun don’t shine. What is the purpose of such blindingly inaccurate numbers?
Market research groups sell their reports to companies for $10,000 or more, so when they issue free bits of public data, journalists should review these reports with some healthy skepticism and consider why they’re getting free data that tells such compelling stories.
What’s the lesson here?
First, when the blind lead the blind they both will fall into a pit and deserve it. Second, facts still matter, and by any perspective using numbers Apple financials represented a whopper of a quarter considering that competitors are licking wounds.
Finally, look at the numbers that matter. Marketshare is the least important of the popular metrics we see tossed around these days, and unit sales are not far behind. What numbers are more important? How about the old fashioned numbers?
Profit and revenue.
The problem here is that blind guides cannot lead blind people to real numbers.