By market capitalization, brand image and revenue stream, Apple (Nasdaq:APPL) is considered by many to be the world's most successful consumer electronics company. In Q3, Apple generated a whopping $35 billion in revenue, 46% of which was derived from sales of the iPhone. Its recent Q4 earnings call revealed that, despite missing analyst expectations, Apple also brought in an additional $35.96 billion, bringing the overall fiscal revenue up to $156.5 billion.

Can one product alone have a significant effect on the United States economy? History would indicate that it is possible. Certain revolutionary products have the ability to influence the aggregate demand of a nation and singlehandedly drive GDP. For example, Ford (NYSE:F) sold 15 million Model T automobiles from 1909 to 1927, totaling a 60% market share at its most successful point. Given that there was no automobile market up to that point, it can readily be assumed that the Ford Motor Company had a tangible impact on the U.S. GDP over that time frame.

GDP Boasts
Before its release, every investment bank held the iPhone 5 in high regard, with many differing in their opinion on the extent of the phone's impact. For example, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) revised its price estimates on Apple in response to the projected demand for iPhone 5. Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) coolly boosted its price target from $775 to $850 as well. Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), on the other hand, stated that it was prepared to re-evaluate its price target if the phone's success carried into 2013.

However, JPMorgan & Chase was willing to go a step farther. Michael Feroli, the chief economist at JPMorgan, has published that "iPhone 5 could potentially add between a quarter to half of a percentage point to fourth quarter annualized GDP growth. In other words, sales of the iPhone 5 alone could contribute up to $3.2 billion to America's GDP in the fourth quarter. While certainly ambitious, JPMorgan considers the estimate consistent with past performance of the iPhone product line.

While Apple did sell 5 million units in the first few days of its release, it missed analyst expectations and since then (and after its recent Q4 earnings release) has dropped to a share price of $605. However, despite falling short of analyst expectations, can the argument be made that the iPhone 5 boosted the U.S. economy? It depends on whether or not you subscribe to the Broken Window Fallacy, as posited by Paul Krugman. Each person purchasing an iPhone 5 is likely disposing of their old iPhone 4 or 4S. Therefore, to say that the sales of the iPhone 5 will bring money into the economy is like saying that breaking your own window and replacing it with a new one will benefit the economy, on the basis that you're giving the glass repairman work.

The Bottom Line
Despite how you feel about its potential to boost the economy, Apple is producing electronics that consumers want. Even though the iPhone 5 failed to meet analysts' sales expectations, it will likely have a positive influence on the U.S. GDP. However, the breadth of its significance remains to be see.

At the time of writing, James Kerin did not own any shares in any company mentioned in this article.

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    Will J.C. Penney Come Back in 2016? (JCP)

    J.C. Penney is without a doubt turning itself around, but that doesn't guarantee the stock will respond immediately.
  2. Stock Analysis

    Allstate: How Being Boring Earns it Billions (ALL)

    A summary of what Allstate Insurance sells and whom it sells it to including recent mergers and acquisitions that have helped boost its bottom line.
  3. Options & Futures

    Cyclical Versus Non-Cyclical Stocks

    Investing during an economic downturn simply means changing your focus. Discover the benefits of defensive stocks.
  4. Investing Basics

    How to Deduct Your Stock Losses

    Held onto a stock for too long? Selling at a loss is never ideal, but it is possible to minimize the damage. Here's how.
  5. Economics

    Is Wall Street Living in Denial?

    Will remaining calm and staying long present significant risks to your investment health?
  6. Stock Analysis

    When Will Dick's Sporting Goods Bounce Back? (DKS)

    Is DKS a bargain here?
  7. Investing News

    How AT&T Evolved into a Mobile Phone Giant

    A third of Americans use an AT&T mobile phone. How did it evolve from a state-sponsored monopoly, though antitrust and a technological revolution?
  8. Stock Analysis

    Home Depot: Can its Shares Continue Climbing?

    Home Depot has outperformed the market by a wide margin in the last 12 months. Is this sustainable?
  9. Stock Analysis

    Yelp: Can it Regain its Losses in 2016? (YELP)

    Yelp investors have had reason to be happy recently. Will the good spirits last?
  10. Stock Analysis

    Is Walmart's Rally Sustainable? (WMT)

    Walmart is enjoying a short-term rally. Is it sustainable? Is Amazon still a better bet?
  1. What's the best-selling iPhone model of all time?

    Apple's iPhone 6 and its larger cousin the iPhone 6+ are the bestselling iPhone models of all time, with the iPhone 6 coming ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center