Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley released a report yesterday highlighting his bullish views on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), noting that the company’s smartphone market share is increasing. After analyzing survey results and trends of leading carrier store traffic, Walkley reiterates a Buy rating on Apple and increases his price target to $160, up from $155, marking a 40% upside from current levels.
The analyst assured that the company will “maintain very strong share of the premium tier smartphone market,” noting that the iPhone 6S “should enable Apple to continue to post strong sales and high-end smartphone market share gains.” Only 27% of current iPhone owners have upgraded to the iPhone 6/6S series since the end of Q3/F15, giving Walkley reason to believe in “continued strong replacement sales through C2015 and beyond.”
Walkley continues, “Further, we anticipate continued high-end smartphone market share gains for the larger screen iPhone 6 devices as our surveys indicate a greater mix of Android smartphone consumers are switching to the iPhone 6 smartphones than during iPhone 5 series launches. We believe these trends should grow the iPhone installed base to over 500M exiting C2015, and this base should drive strong future iPhone replacement sales, earnings, as well as cash flow generation to fund strong long-term capital returns programs.”
Furthermore, the analyst is bullish on Apple’s new installment plan programs, noting that the “aggressively priced installment programs from leading carriers will improve the rate of iPhone upgrade sales to the growing installed base of iPhone users.” As a result, Walkley revised his iPhone replacement rate estimates for 2015 to 233 million units replaced (up from 227 million), and 237 million units replaced in 2016 (up from 228 million). Lastly, the analyst added the iPad Pro to his product line estimates, forecasting 2 million units sold in 2015 in 7 million sold in 2016.
Overall, the analyst believes “strong iPhone sales can fund solid long-term capital returns programs and Apple could further monetize the large iPhone user base through additional products, software, and services driving ongoing long-term sales growth.”
Michael Walkley, somewhat of an Apple analyst veteran, has rated the company 79 times since 2010. He has earned a 69% success rate recommending the technology giant with a +26.3% average return per AAPL rating.
Out of the 36 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 26 are bullish on Apple, 1 is bearish, and 9 are staying on the sidelines. The average 12-month price target between these 12 analysts is $145.58, marking a 27% potential upside from current levels.