How is the technology sector doing and why should those financial numbers concern creative professionals?
This is the time of year when the world’s big suppliers of the tools, which creative professionals depend on, report on how things are going financially. Those reports primarily focus on the October 1 - December 31 quarter and look at how that compares to the previous period.
The bellwether has become Apple, which last week reported that revenues were up around 13%. But how were unit sales? Apple sold 1% more iPads and that represented a 5% iPad revenue rise. That tells us people want more powerful iPads. Similarly, iPhone revenues were up 13%, but there were 1% few units sold. That tells us more powerful iPhones are the trend, but we don’t know what we’re supposed to learn from a lesser demand. Are the iPhones people already have lasting longer? We have heard such speculation, but it’s difficult to figure what that really means. Mac sales don’t look great: revenues and units are down 5%.
Adobe’s quarter ended December 1, so it’s off by 30 days, compared to Apple’s. But, this year, that doesn’t seem to matter. It wasn’t long ago that we were impressed that Adobe broke the $1 billion mark for a 90 day quarter. This time they broke the $2 billion mark. Creative Cloud and Document Cloud revenues are the big Adobe heroes. Why is that important? Just like Apple’s sales reflecting the need for more power, Adobe’s apps could be one of the reasons such serious power is needed.
On the powerful PC side of the equation, HP reported how their various market segments were doing. Everything related to creative professionals were up with the exception of digital printing presses, which were maintaining the same as this time last year. A point that we found interesting was that HP saw a 3% increase in inkjet printer sales. Both Canon and Epson reported a 3% rise in inkjet printer revenues, too. So, the idea that we’re in a paperless society is not true.
The commercial side of the Microsoft Windows sales were near identical to Mac sales: they were off 5%. We don’t know what that means, either. The Microsoft Office sales are up 10% to 12%, so like with Adobe, there’s a movement toward more powerful apps.
Not all of the dSLR camera results have been released, but Canon showed positive results in those professional products. So far, anticipated results for Nikon, Sony, Wacom, and Yamaha look promising for 2018.
But why is this important?
If revenues are great, investment follows. That tells us that better products are in the pipeline. If more of the powerful commercially oriented products are selling, that means businesses are buying more tools. And, more tools mean more employment in the media technology sectors.