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Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 06:14 pm PT (09:14 pm ET)

Middle-class Americans to spend $481 a year on Apple products by 2015

The average middle-class American will spend roughly $481 each year on Apple products by 2015, up from $321 this year, while emerging middle-class consumers in developing markets will drive substantial growth for the company in coming years, according to a new analysis.

In a report sent to clients on Tuesday, Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha attributed the $160 increase to affordability and product distribution in America, saying he believes the number of consumers with disposable income levels greater than $30,000 will rise by 10 percent over the next four years to 178 million.

Garcha sees iPhone and iPad sales growth as a critical factor in per-capita spending, estimating Apple's share of the smartphone and tablet markets to rise to 25.6 percent and 93.8 percent, respectively, from 23.5 percent and 88.7 percent over the next 4 years.

The analyst also noted that emerging markets have the potential to bring Apple another $68 billion in sales by 2015, citing an estimated base of 244 million people earning more than $30,000 per year.

"Importantly, by 2015, there will be 244 million consumers in (emerging markets) with similar income profiles, up from 133 million this year," Garcha wrote. "Assuming Apple addresses these markets, this drives an incremental $70 billion in sales by 2015…and $17.50 in EPS."

Five countries — China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Russia, will account for most of the increase, according to the analyst. He noted China as having the most potential for growth, estimated at $28 billion by 2015, as Apple continues to extend its reach in the country.

Emerging countries accounted for $8.2 billion of Apple's revenue in 2010, however, Garcha estimates that number to increase to $24.1 billion in 2011.

Credit Suisse note


A product by product analysis by the firm also indicated that emerging markets could contribute incremental EPS of $18 for Apple by 2015. By expanding the iPhone to the next 50 top carriers in emerging markets, the company could extend its reach to an estimated 1.98 billion mobile subscribers in 2012. Apple's current carrier relationships cover nearly 2.7 billion subscriptions globally, according to the analyst.

Garcha assumes that $400+ smartphones make up 10 percent of the emerging market and customers would adopt a two-year replacement cycle. Given Apple's 57 percent market share in the high-end handset market, that could translate to sales of 54 million additional iPhone units annually,

Credit Suisse note


The analyst projects that iPad growth in emerging markets could add $7.26 in EPS for Apple. He estimates Apple will maintain a 45 percent share of emerging market tablet shipments, which are expected to rise to 126 million units by 2015.

He also pointed out that the firm's estimates may prove conservative, as they don't account for "any further innovation from Apple" or new product launches. For instance, a low-end iPhone, which he says is likely to come in 2012, could add an additional $4.50 to EPS. Credit Suisse projected that Apple could reach total iPhone volumes of 230 million in 2015, though it did note that, without a lower end version, shipments of the device may peak at 135-140 million units per year.

The firm reiterated on Tuesday its Outperform rating and $500 target price for Apple stock.