Apple now has more than 575 million active iTunes accounts associated with credit cards, a user base that is second only to Facebook. This makes Apple the biggest company on the Internet with active accounts linked to credit cards. But how much are these users worth? Horace Dediu of Asymco tried to find out.
By looking back in time and comparing Apple’s previous milestones all the way back way to 2009, Dediu concluded that the Cupertino company’s iTunes user base is growing at an accelerated pace: Apple adds roughly 500,000 new iTunes accounts per day, or roughly 44% annually. This could lead to another Apple milestone by the end of the year: 600 million active iTunes accounts.
By comparing spending habits, Dediu has found that each of the current 575 million accounts generates about 50% of the revenue of the 100 million accounts of 2009. To put that into numbers, an iTunes account generates roughly $3.20 per month in transactions.
The report goes on to analyze the yearly company revenue per iTunes account, along with the enterprise value, to conclude how much a single customer is worth to the company and to the stockholders.
Although the rate of spending of each customer is decreasing, the number of new customers is increasing more rapidly. As this is happening the company’s equity is being priced such that an Apple user is considered less than half as valuable as she used to be—from 3.2x revenues to 1.5x revenues. This change in user value has been quite abrupt, happening only within the last nine months. What could justify a drop in user value would be a drop in customer satisfaction or loyalty. So far, I have seen no evidence of this happening.