Apple's iPhone 5 could single-handedly lift the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) as much as 0.5 percent, according to JP Morgan analyst Michael Feroli. Based on some fairly simple calculations, Mr. Feroli said that the sale of 8 million iPhone 5 units in the December quarter would add some US$3.2 billion net to GDP, which works out to as much as 0.5 percent.
At the core of his math is an average retail price of $600 per iPhone (with or without a subsidy). According to Mr. Feroli, $200 of that price gets added up in the import column, which is subtracted from GDP. That leaves $400, however, is counted as "trade margins," which add to GDP.
"Thus, calculated using the so-called retail control method, sales of iPhone 5 could boost Q4 GDP by $3.2 billion, or $12.8 billion at an annual rate," the analyst wrote in a research note to clients.
That would work out to a boost in GDP of 0.33 percent. That impact could be greater, he argued, if, "the hedonically-adjusted constant quality prices of phones declined to newer or better features," which he characterized as a reasonable conjecture. Under that scenario, the iPhone 5's contribution to GDP could be as high as 0.5 percent.