Analysis of how badly the coronavirus could hit Apple

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People in face masks in an Apple store during an outbreak of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus, which started in Wuhan in December 2019.

Artyom Ivanov | TASS | Getty Images

Over the weekend Apple announced it temporarily shut all its stores in mainland China, a decision analysts warn may lead a big sales decline in a key market for the tech giant while the country fights the coronavirus outbreak.

With Apple’s 42 stores closed until at least Feb. 9, Citi estimated the company’s worst case scenario, where sales in China go to zero.

“Each week of no China sales is $850 million of sales or a reduction of -1.3%. Should the situation elongate to a month it would represent $3.4 billion or a reduction of -5.2% [for Apple’s total sales],” Citi said in a note to investors.

Shares of Apple rose slightly on Monday, but underperformed the broader market on these concerns.

While Apple said its online store would remain open, Citi pointed out that deliveries may be curtailed. Citi also noted that Apple’s China stores have an significant impact on its total sales: While just 8% of Apple’s stores are in China, the country makes up 17% of Apple’s total sales.

Evercore ISI likewise noted Apple’s heavy sales exposure to China, as well as its large manufacturing and supply chain in the country. According to Evercore, about half of Apple’s 775 supply vendors are in China.

TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on Monday cut his iPhone shipment forecast for the first quarter of this year by 10%, specifically citing the coronavirus.

″Our latest survey indicates that the iPhone supply is being affected by the coronavirus and, therefore, we cut the iPhone shipment forecasts by 10% to 36-40 mn units in 1Q20,” Kuo said

Apple’s recent revenue forecast “incorporated some degree of headwinds from these issues,” Evercore said, “so likely we think AAPL is one of the more de-risked models.” Deutsche also pointed out Apple’s flexibility, noting that the company’s $4 billion range for revenue guidance this quarter was wider than its historical range of about $2 billion to $3 billion .

“We see the coronavirus impact on AAPL as a dynamic that continues to gain in importance to the company, though we size the present impact to be relatively minimal, financially,” Deutsche said.

– CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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