Apple SWOT Analysis

By John Dudovskiy
February 17, 2021

SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to organizations. The following table  illustrates Apple SWOT analysis:


1.      High quality, design and performance of Apple products and services

2.      Brand value of more than USD 1 trillion

3.      High profit margin

4.      Solid financial position of the business

5.      Sophisticated supply-chain infrastructure


1.      Decline of sales in China

2.      Decreasing sales of iPhones

3.      Higher prices than competition

4.      Incompatibility of Apple products and services with other products and services for users

5.      Lack of innovation


1.      Further increasing concentration on Services business segment

2.      Increasing focus in research and development

3.      Product diversification

4.      Formation of strategic partnerships

5.      Increasing focus on green technology


1.      Disruptions due to coronavirus pandemic

2.      Quality problems with negative effects on sales and Apple brand image

3.      Intensifying competition from China and India

4.      Being found to have infringed on intellectual property rights

5.      Reputation damage due to the tax scandal

 Apple SWOT analysis


Strengths in Apple SWOT Analysis

1. High quality of Apple products and services in terms of design and performance is the main strength of the company. Co-founder and late CEO Steve Jobs never compromised design and functionality because of the cost of raw materials and manufacturing. The same principle persists to this day. The tech giant pursues differentiation business strategy and effectively differentiates its products and services with high quality, design and performance.

Moreover, highly sophisticated Apple ecosystem plays an instrumental role in maintaining brand loyalty and consequently sustaining market share in the global scale. Specifically, third-party products are not usually compatible with Apple products and all products belonging to Apple portfolio work well with each-other. Thanks to services such as iCloud, airplay, and airdrop, you can start a task in on one Apple device and continue it on another and there is no need to download or install anything.

2. Apple is the first company in the US to reach USD 2 trillion market capitalization in 2020. The valuation of the iPhone maker doubled in just over two years.[1]  There are only about 61 companies in the S&P 500 with market capitalizations more than USD90 billion.[2] Apple has been listed by Forbes as the most valuable brand in the world with the brand value of USD 241,2 billion[3], while Interbrand estimates Apple brand value as high as USD 323 billion.[4]

Strength of Apple’s brand image and value is effectively reinforced by a combination of factors such as a large customer base in the global scale and high profit margin. High brand value grants substantial advantages to the multinational technology company in terms of leveraging the brand to add new products and services into the portfolio. Moreover, high brand equity gives the company considerable bargaining power in negotiations with vendors, manufacturers and distributors.

3. Apple maintains an exceptionally high profit margin compared to industry average. Industry analysts note that “Apple isn’t here to sell the most of anything; its overarching goal is simply to generate the greatest possible profit”[5]. The company’s gross margin for 2020, 2017 and 2016 amounted to 38,3%, 37,8% and 38,3% respectively.[6]

As illustrated in Figure 1 below, the net profit margin of the tech giant has stayed well above 20% for the last 10 years and it equalled 21,73% for 2020. High profit margin can allow the business to maintain its operations in times of economic uncertainties thanks to cash reserves.

Apple SWOT Analysis

Figure 1 Apple Inc. net profit margin chart[7]

4. Apple is the world’s largest IT company by revenue. In 2020, the multinational technology company generated net sales of more than USD 274, 51 billions with a total gross margin of USD 104,97 billions.[8] The iPhone maker has USD 90,00 billion more cash than debt[9]. Apple has a strong financial base to engage in research and development further contributing to its traditional competitive advantage of innovativeness and superior design. Moreover, thanks to its strong balance sheet, Apple could weather Covid-19 storm better than most other global companies.

5. Apple’s supply-chain operations are widely acknowledged as one of the best in the world. Apple supply chain best practices include data synchronization between the central warehouse and its own stores and customers, and outsourcing manufacturing and as a result reducing the manufacturing cycle time. Moreover, sophisticated supply-chain management practices allow the company to facilitate its complex global operations with no or least disruptions.

Weaknesses in Apple SWOT Analysis

1. Apple sales in China are declining. As illustrated in Figure 2 below, revenue in Greater China segment, which includes China mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan has been generally declining for the last four years. During the last quarter of 2020 sales in Greater China segment were only USD 7,9 billion, a massive 28,9% drop compared to the same period of the previous year.[10]

Apple SWOT Analysis

Figure 2 Apple Inc. quarterly revenues from Greater China segment[11]

Apple is also facing issues in China in terms of getting approval from authorities to publish new games to the App Store.[12] Decline of sales in this strategically important market is a major issue for the multinational technology company. Moreover, failure to address this fact can have severely negative implications on the long-term growth prospects of the business.

2. Arguably, Apple can be criticized as a single-product company for its over-dependence on iPhones. As illustrated in Figure 3 below, the sales of iPhones has been steadily declining for the past 5 years and this fact is one of Apple’s major weaknesses. It has been noted that “the increasing competition from Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei and Xiaomi – but also from Google, LG and Samsung – has eroded the once dominant position of Apple in the smartphone market”[13]

Apple SWOT Analysis

Figure 3 Changes in iPhone unit sales[14]

Apple Inc. Report contains a full version of Apple SWOT Analysis. The report illustrates the application of the major analytical strategic frameworks in business studies such as PESTEL, Porter’s Five Forces, Value Chain analysis, Ansoff Matrix and McKinsey 7S Model on Apple. Moreover, the report contains analyses of Apple leadership, organizational structure, business strategy and organizational culture. The report also comprises discussions of Apple marketing strategy, ecosystem and addresses issues of corporate social responsibility.

Apple Inc. Report


[1] Bursztynsky, J. (2020) “Apple becomes first U.S. company to reach a $2 trillion market cap” CNBC, Available at:  

[2] Root, A. (2020) “Apple-Supplier Stocks Have Taken a Beating. Here Are 4 That Might Be Cheap Enough” Barrons, Available at:

[3] The World’s Most Valuable Brands (2020) Forbes, Available at:

[4] Best Global Brands 2020 (2021) Interbrand, Available at:

[5]Savov, V. (2016) “Apple’s grand unifying strategy: high profit margins” The Verge, Available at:

[6] Annual Report (2020) Apple Inc.

[7] Source: Microtrends (2020) Available at:

[8] Annual Report (2020) Apple Inc.

[9] Root, A. (2020) “Apple-Supplier Stocks Have Taken a Beating. Here Are 4 That Might Be Cheap Enough” Barrons, Available at:

[10] Gallagher, W. (2020) “Apple’s earnings in China drop nearly 30% in Q4” Apple Insider, Available at:

[11] Gallagher, W. (2020) “Apple’s earnings in China drop nearly 30% in Q4” Apple Insider, Available at:

[12] Kastrenakes, J. (2019) “Apple sales revenue fell billions in China, wiping out other gains” The Verge, Available at:

[13] Bris, A. (2019) “What is really eating apple – and why Steve Jobs would not be doing a lot better” IMD, Available at:

[14] Source: ZD NET (2020) Available at:

Category: SWOT Analyses