SAN FRANCISCO: Apple and Facebook on Wednesday made staggering gains in profits and revenues over the past quarter, in the latest sign that Big Tech is offering to consumers affected by the pandemic around the world.
Quarterly Blowout updates from two giants in Silicon Valley highlighted how consumers are increasingly relying on social media, digital services, and gadgets as they navigate the global health crisis.
Apple said holiday revenue was up 29% from last year to $ 28.7 billion, while revenue grew 21% to $ 111.4 billion, with international sales accounting for nearly two-thirds of sales.
Sales topped the $ 100 billion mark for the first time as Apple beat epidemic-affected consumers with new tools and services, as it posted strong gains in sales of iPhones, wearables and digital content.
“We are grateful for the enthusiastic customer response to the unparalleled range of cutting-edge products that we have introduced during this historic holiday season,” said CEO Tim Cook.
The news was similar on Facebook, which has seen its global user base increase in a world plagued by the coronavirus outbreak.
Facebook reported a profit of $ 11.2 billion on revenue of $ 28 billion, an increase of 53% and 33% over the same period of the previous year.
“We had a strong end to this year, as individuals and companies continued to use our services during these difficult times,” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook.
Reaching 3.3 billion
Facebook said its primary social network had about 2.8 billion users at the end of December, while 3.3 billion people used at least one “family” of apps including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
The Silicon Valley giant indicated in the statement that it faces “great uncertainty” in the coming year, citing new regulations that could limit how targeted ads are served.
Facebook accounts for the bulk of its revenue from advertising, and said it has benefited with the acceleration of the pandemic from the shift to online commerce, particularly for products rather than services like travel reservations.
“Looking to the future, moderation or reversal in one or both of these trends could be headlining to our ad revenue growth,” Facebook said in the statement.
Conflict over privacy
Facebook has also warned that it expects to face strong “headwinds” from the evolving regulatory landscape and from moves such as Apple’s change to its mobile operating system, which would make targeting ads more difficult.
Facebook said: “While the timing of iOS 14’s changes remains uncertain, we expect to see an impact beginning late in the first quarter.”
The social networking giant opened fire on Apple last month, saying the iPhone maker had devised new measures on data collection and targeted advertising would hurt small businesses.
The spat among the tech giants is centered on changes to Apple’s latest iOS operating system, which includes a transparency tracking feature that Facebook claims will hamper its ability to serve targeted ads.