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iPhone 8, 8 Plus See Lowest-Performing Launch in Four Years

iPhone 8, 8 Plus See Lowest-Performing Launch in Four Years Credit: Business Insider
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The iPhone 8 rollout over the last few days may very well be one of Apple’s lowest-performing launch weekends in several years. But it’s not exactly unexpected and it’s not entirely a bad thing for Apple.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have seen the lowest adoption rates of any iPhone in the last four years, according to new data by mobile engagement firm Localytics. Combined, the devices achieved an estimated 0.7 percent market share of iPhone models — the lowest percentage tracked since the iPhone 5s launch weekend in 2013.

Here, it’s important to note that the data doesn’t necessarily represent overall sales for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Rather, the numbers track how many users have used one of the new iPhones on an app that utilizes Localytics’ platform to track user engagement — roughly, there are about 37,000 apps using the firm’s SDK. Even with that in mind, the results are pretty telling.

Specifically, the data suggests that the type of consumer who rushes out to buy a new iPhone during a launch weekend are likely holding out for the premium OLED iPhone to launch in November. “Apple is betting big on the iPhone X, and so far it looks like consumers may be doing the same,” the firm wrote in a blog post.

There’s another explanation for the lower percentages. Namely, the fact that the total iPhone market is growing steadily larger could skew the numbers. Put simply, there are more iPhones in more users’ hands, meaning that Apple has to sell more new devices to equal the same percentage as previous years.

The numbers do show an uptick in the demand for larger-sized phones, however. The iPhone 8 Plus alone recorded a 0.4 percent market share, higher than any other first-weekend adoption of a Plus model iPhone. The upgraded camera tech and dual-lens module in the larger iPhone are likely also attracting higher demand.

There’s no way to corroborate Localytics’ data with actual sales statistics, as Apple decided to stop releasing first-weekend sales data for its new flagships last year. Since iPhone sales are increasingly governed by supply rather than demand, Apple said, first-weekend sales numbers are no longer a “representative metric” for the company’s investors or customers.

In addition to iPhone adoption rates, Localytics also tracked the adoption of Apple’s new iOS 11 software — which was released last Tuesday. According to its data, iOS 11’s adoption percentage was also lower than previous versions through the first six days of its availability.

Of course, Localytics’ report may not be entirely representative of the iPhone 8’s sales. But it does correlate with other reports suggesting that the initial buzz surrounding the iPhone 8 has been “bleak” compared to previous years. Taken together, these reports suggest that demand for the iPhone X will be substantial and Apple could very well see the long-rumored upgrade supercycle when that premium headset launches on Nov. 3.

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