apple-pestel-analysis

Apple PESTEL Analysis

Background

Apple is a company that has fundamentally changed aspects of the way we communicate with each other.

Founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple now has a line of innovative technology products including the iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, and iPad. It also has a long list of propriety software and hardware to support its numerous devices.

Understanding the Apple PESTLE analysis

Political

Apple has a much-publicized cash balance, with recent reports putting the figure at $195.57 billion.

In the United States, this has stimulated discussion over corporate tax legislation. Worsening income inequality as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has also exacerbated this issue for the company.

Apple is also heavily dependent on China for manufacturing. The continuing conflict between the U.S. and China has resulted in import restrictions and a general focus on renewing the American manufacturing industry.

Economic

With an emerging middle class numbering in the hundreds of millions, Chinese manufacturing also represents an economic threat to Apple. The Chinese middle class is demanding higher wages, which has the potential to erode the cost advantage of manufacturing Apple products.

Stagnating wage growth in the United States also means consumer purchasing power is on the decline. This is reducing revenue in lucrative key markets.

Social

Few social trends have been as significant as the uptake of smartphones among consumers. Once a consumer owns a smartphone, there is now a societal expectation that it will be upgraded in 1-2 years. 

However, the tendency to upgrade a device for social status is fading. Younger generations are becoming more discerning consumers, with a need for both affordability and functionality. Inevitably, Apple will need to reduce its dependence on the iPhone which accounts for almost half of its sales.

Technological

Apple faces strong competition from Google and Samsung for technologically advanced products. Many of Apple’s signature products such as Apple Pay have been easily replicated.

This problem was exacerbated by the death of Steve Jobs, who was unmatched in his ability to innovate. Current CEO Tim Cook is a logistics and optimization specialist. His modus operandi is to extract money from consumers with high-margin accessories such as dongles, cables, and adaptors. While effective, this strategy is not unique.

Legal

Like many similar companies, Apple has entered the highly lucrative (but also highly regulated) financial services industry.

Reports suggest it is also planning to enter automobile manufacturing – which is also heavily regulated. Both industries have the potential to increase insurance and compliance costs for Apple.

The company is also reliant on intellectual property laws to maintain its product range integrity. Piracy and associated litigation expenses are a constant concern

Environmental

Apple faces several environmental issues going forward. The safe disposal of its devices is perhaps the most significant.

Pollution from manufacturing facilities in China is also likely to become increasingly regulated as China tightens emissions laws.

Rising energy costs also mean the company is having to spend more money on maintaining data centers and other infrastructure.

Key takeaways

  • Apple has fundamentally changed how consumers communicate and access information. But to some extent, it is a victim of its own success.
  • Reliance on Chinese manufacturing is problematic on a couple of fronts. Rising labor costs associated with the emerging Chinese middle-class impact company profit margins. Increased environmental regulation in the country might also impact manufacturing operations.
  • Apple’s ability to innovate in the wake of Steve Jobs has been diminished. Once unique technology is being easily replicated by competitors such as Google and Samsung.

Read Also: Apple Business Model, Apple Business Strategy.

Read Next: Pestel Analysis, SWOT Analysis, Porter’s Five Forces, STEEP Analysis, SOAR Analysis, BCG Matrix, Ansoff Matrix.

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Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which reached over a million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get The FourWeekMBA Flagship Book "100+ Business Models"