Is Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) about to surprise analysts with better than expected June quarter results? According to Barron’s, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) analyst Katy Huberty is predicting sales of 31 million iPhones in this quarter, which is higher than many analysts’ estimates of 27 million units shipped.
Huberty is basing her worldwide Apple iPhone sales forecast on “multi-country web search analysis using Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Trends.” Coupled with “sales data seasonality,” this approach allows Huberty to make predictions on how many units will sell in various global markets. The analyst also notes that this approach accounts for the various search criteria differences found in other countries.
Although Huberty’s sales prediction of 31 million iPhones for the quarter ending in June is 6.4 million less than last quarter, it is above the previous estimate of 26 million. Apple sold 37.4 million iPhones in the second quarter of this year, which was 2.3 million more than the same quarter in 2012.
The Morgan Stanley analyst believes that her sales predictions are also backed up by her contacts in Apple’s overseas supply chain. After recently returning from a trip to Hong Kong and Taiwan, Huberty hinted that an Apple-China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) deal might be in the works. Now Huberty is reporting that “iPhone searches in China grew Q/Q, which highlights the opportunity to win additional subscribers in the region.”
Based on the same research, Huberty believes that Apple’s rival, Samsung (SSNLF.PK), will fall short of its predicted sales for this quarter. According to Huberty, Samsung will ship approximately 45 million units of its Galaxy series smartphones. This is 1 million units below the consensus estimate of 46 million units shipped.
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