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Apple and Google report strong sales as they help customers connect during pandemic

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The US tech companies that have led the way in enabling mobile commerce both issued their latest figures overnight. Both Apple – developer of the iOS system – and Google – developer of Android – reported strong sales figures reflecting the way both helped their customers to connect during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Apple says the fourth quarter of its financial year was its strongest yet for sales, as the technology company’s products enabled more customers to work and study from home during the pandemic. 

The technology and retail brand, which is ranked Top100 in RXUK Top500 research for its multichannel approach to selling its own products, set records for revenue during the quarter, at $64.7bn in the three months to September 26 – 1% up from $64.04bn (£48.6bn) a year earlier. International sales accounting for 59% of that figure. Net income was down, however, by 7% to $12.7bn (£9.6bn), from $13.7bn(£10.4bn) a year earlier. 

In the 12 months to the same date, net sales came in at $274.5bn (£208.4bn), 5% up from $260.2bn (£197.5bn) a year earlier, while net income of $57.4bn (£43.6bn) was 4% up from $55.3bn (£41.97bn) last time. 

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said: “Despite the ongoing impacts of Covid-19, Apple is in the midst of our most prolific product introduction period ever, and the early response to all our new products, led by our first 5G enabled iPhone lineup, has been tremendously positive. From remote learning to the home office, Apple products have been a window to the world for users as the pandemic continues, and our teams have met the needs of this moment with creativity, passion and the kinds of big ideas that only Apple can deliver.”

Apple chief financial officer Luca Maestri said the company had set all-time records for revenue and earnings per share. “Our sales results and the unmatched loyalty of our customers drove our active installed base of devices to an all-time high in all of our major product categories.”

Apple sells physical products online, through more than 500 of its own shops, and through retail partners, while its sells its own apps, and those of third-parties via its App Store. 

Meanwhile, Alphabet, the parent company of Google – which is ranked Top500 in RXUK Top500 research for its own multichannel retail operations – posted a 20% rise in third-quarter sales – to $46.2bn (£35.1bn), while net income rose 58% to $11.2bn (£8.5bn) in the three months to September 30 from $7.1bn (£5.4bn) at the same time last year. 

Retail forms a relatively small proportion of Google’s operations – although it sells products including smartphones and voice assistants both online, via retail partners and in Google shop-in-shops within branches of Currys PC World in the UK, and within branches of Best Buy in Canada. 

Most of its revenues come via advertising, on its search platform and on YouTube, as well as from its Google Play app store. 

Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Alphabet and Google, said: “We’ve had a strong quarter, consistent with the broader online environment. It’s also a testament to the deep investments we’ve made in AI and other technologies, to deliver services that people turn to for help, in moments big and small.”

Chief financial officer Ruth Porat said revenue growth was led by advertisers spending on search and YouTube, and as Google Cloud and Play continued to be strong. She added: “We remain focused on making the right investments to support long-term sustainable value.”

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