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Did you know: Apple’s revenue exceeds the economic output of most countries
We all know that Apple is one of the richest companies in the world. In terms of revenue, the iPhone maker earned an astounding $119.58 billion last quarter alone. But it can be hard to appreciate the scale of this number. After all, even a single billion is an unfathomable amount that most of us don’t have much experience with. Let’s put that figure into some perspective then: Apple’s 2023 revenue surpasses the economic output of more than 75% of countries.
First, it’s worth noting that I’m not talking about Apple’s market cap here. That metric currently stands at around $3 trillion, but it’s closely tied to the company’s stock price. Instead, we’re concerned with Apple’s revenue or the amount of money it makes from selling goods and services. And in that respect, it eclipses other tech giants and even medium-sized economies.
In 2023, Apple’s annual revenue amounted to $383.29 billion. And according to GDP data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), that figure would slot Apple into the 41st position if it were a country, right between Hong Kong and South Africa. In fact, Apple records higher revenue than the GDP of developed nations like New Zealand, Finland, and Portugal, let alone smaller ones like Bulgaria, Lithuania, and oil-rich Qatar. The bottom line is that Apple’s revenue puts it ahead of most countries’ GDP.
Of course, a company’s revenue isn’t directly comparable to a country’s GDP, as the latter also measures consumer spending and exports in addition to production. Still, it provides some insight into just how big Apple has become. And that’s before we dissect the company’s earnings to find how much it makes from selling hardware versus software.
Apple makes more selling digital services than Mac and iPad sales combined.
According to Apple’s latest investor disclosure documents, the company made $85.2 billion from services alone in 2023. This includes digital purchases, ranging from singular App Store purchases to monthly streaming subscriptions like Apple TV Plus. Here’s another fun fact: Apple makes more money from services than it does selling Mac and iPad hardware combined! Both of those brought in just $57.6 billion last year.
Apple may pay less income tax than you do!
Apple has some of the widest distribution networks of just about any company, which means it has to deal with worldwide currency fluctuations and differing corporate tax rates. Since most of us don’t deal with international taxes on a regular basis, it’s easy to imagine that Apple transfers most of its income back home to its HQ in Cupertino. However, the company doesn’t do that at all.
The US has a corporate income tax rate of 21% these days — it was much higher until Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017. That law also allowed Apple to repatriate its overseas cash at a reduced rate of 15.5% temporarily. The iPhone maker took that one-time opportunity to bring back $252 billion from its offshore subsidiaries into the US.
Fast forward to 2023, however, and Apple still only paid an effective tax rate of 14.7% on its worldwide income. That’s lower than 21% and certainly less than the personal income tax rate in most countries.
Apple uses international tax loopholes to reduce the amount it owes.
This is possible because Apple has established a nexus of subsidiary companies, many of which are located in favorable tax regimes. In countries where the tax rate is higher, the local entity will then pay those foreign subsidiaries for intangible services like use of the Apple trademark and logo.
For example, Apple can dictate that its German division must pay the company’s subsidiary in Ireland a “service fee” for providing technical support or other intangibles. In doing so, Apple doesn’t record any taxable income in expensive geographies and funnels its income into more tax-efficient jurisdictions instead.
In the past, Apple relied heavily on Ireland with its considerably lower tax rate along with a loophole called the “Double Irish with a Dutch sandwich.” However, the European Union pressured Ireland to fix the loophole and ordered Apple to pay 13 billion euros in backdated taxes in 2016.
Ever since then, Apple moved two of its key Irish subsidiaries’ tax residency to Jersey — a British Crown Dependency that maintains its own tax laws. Apple has staunchly argued that it doesn’t evade taxes, but it’s clear as day that the company has played governments and their tax laws like a fiddle.