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iPhone 5s outselling 5c by over 2-to-1 in US, new survey claims

updated 12:17 pm EDT, Mon October 14, 2013

Margin shallower than some other data

The iPhone 5s may be outselling the 5c at a ratio of over 2 to 1 in the US, according to a Consumer Intelligence Research Partners survey conducted during the last days of September. During that period, the 5s represented about 64 percent of all iPhone sales, whereas the 5c came in at just 27 percent. The 4S, free on contract, accounted for just 9 percent of iPhone buyers.

Tracking data from launch weekend initially indicated a ratio of over 3 to 1. The 5s is Apple's most advanced product, though, and more likely to be bought by early adopters. The gap between the 5s and 5c could diminish in coming months, but people have traditionally gravitated towards Apple's most powerful iPhone models.

CIRP notes that the 5c is only doing marginally better than the 4S did last year, when the latter likewise became Apple's $99 mid-tier phone. The 4S took a 23 percent share in the wake of the iPhone 5 launch. The 5 also did better than the 5s, managing 68 percent shortly after its introduction.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-15-02

    ...when apple tries to 'engineer' demand (every 5c color but black?) do they forget the pledge to serve the customer...?

  1. azrich

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-19-10

    I'm not sure what you're getting at Bobo...

    As for this news, you can spin it two ways- Either Apple would have sold more 5c phones if they were priced less and their total sales would have been over 9 million, OR people are willing to pay the premium for the 5s phones and therefor they did the right thing by keeping margins up.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    At current, it looks like the latter.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    I think you should look at how well the 4S did after the 5 came out if you want to gain any real perspective on whether this is a "new" development or not. IIRC, it isn't -- it's EXACTLY what happened last time around.

    Remember that the iPhone 5c has *replaced* the iPhone 5 in the lineup -- while some retailers still have inventory of iPhone 5, its officially no longer available. So the iPhone 5c is this year's iPhone 4s -- it's the cheaper option to a much-improved premium model.

    A very well-connected analyst has predicted that the sales of the two models (worldwide) are actually about 50-50 -- not sure I believe that, but the point is that analysts don't really know ... they make (at best) educated guesses.

    It certainly wouldn't surprise me if the iPhone 5s sold better ... just as it didn't surprise me that the iPhone 5 outsold the iPhone 4s after it came out. Indeed the 50-50 prediction, if that came true, that would be bizarre and amazing.

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-06-01

    Analyst "predictions" aside (since half the time they're just making things up, and the other half they're guessing wrong), given that Apple's total sales in its opening weekend were huge (unless the proportion of 4S's sold during the opening 5 weekend was very large, nowhere near 9 million total phones were sold), it pretty much breaks down like this:

    Apple sold as many phones as it ever has on a launch weekend before, and a disproportionate number of them were the highest end model. Only in the mind of an Apple bear could that possibly be bad news.

    You could say "Well, they might have sold 15 million phones if the 5c had been cheaper", but given that they're still selling piles of phones, and margins are good, and they don't seem to be having any trouble moving the most expensive ones, I'm not seeing much of an issue. Besides, if these analyst guesses are correct and the ratio has moved from 3:1 to 2:1, sales of the 5c are improving, which is what you'd expect--a bunch of early adopters rush out to buy the latest and greatest, but it's the people who aren't in a rush and just buy whatever is $100 on contract who are the target market of the 5c.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    I think you've hit it on the head, Makosuke: most consumers are not power-geeks, and they think of the new iPhones as "the one that costs $200, the one that costs $100, and the free one." To someone who's not a spec-hound, the iPhone 5 is still a better smartphone than nearly any other on the market -- and the iPhone 5c is an improved version of the iPhone 5.

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