Apple customer loyalty and response to the COVID-19 pandemic have proven brick-and-mortar stores are not essential to drive sales of its products, J.P.Morgan said on Friday, as the iPhone maker's blockbuster quarterly results pushed its shares up 7 percent.
The United States' most valuable company was forced to shut down more than 70 stores again in the third quarter in response to surging COVID-19 cases, but consumers were unfazed with the company topping analysts' estimates for iPhone sales by US$4 billion.
Revenue gains were splashed across every category and geography for the quarter, while a juicy stock split was added for extra measure, giving Wall Street and investors more cheer.
JPM analyst Samik Chatterjee said the performance spoke volumes about the importance of Apple products to consumers, and showed them willing to circumvent the traditional practice of buying from the physical channel when required.
Online retailers have emerged as big winners during lockdowns with people preferring to shop from their homes, driving malls and physical shopping globally into crisis and questioning their future in retail globally.
E-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc is also riding high on the online shopping boost. The company posted its biggest profit ever on the back of a 48 percent rise in online store sales.
At least seven brokerages raised their 12-month price targets on Apple's stock, with Piper Sandler making the most aggressive move and raising its target by US$160 to US$450. The current median price target on the stock is US$409.63.
Shares of the California-based company were up 7 percent to US$411 in pre-market trade, on course to open at a record.
(Reporting by Aakash Jagadeesh Babu and Neha Malara in Bengaluru; Editing by Sweta Singh and Bernard Orr)