While Apple recently announced that it’s going to withhold key iPhone sales figures from future quarterly earnings reports, the somewhat bizarre move doesn’t mean we’ll never know how iPhones are selling.
Thanks to well-connected research firms like the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), we now have somewhat of a revolving window into iPhone sales — even if Apple doesn’t really want us peeking inside.
CIRP partner and co-founder Josh Lowitz, in his firm’s latest report, examines new iPhone sales for the month of November 2018, revealing most notably that Apple’s iPhone XR not only represented 32 percent of new iPhone sales during the month. But that figure is down from the estimated 39 percent share of new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models sold during the same month last year.
While the overall purpose of this report was to document the mixup of new iPhone sales during November 2018 — while specifically comparing said data to previous years, Lowitz notes that comparisons like this have become more difficult, as Apple’s iPhone launch strategy has become more complex.
“Of course, comparisons are difficult, because of how Apple sequenced new model launches in the past two years,” Lowitz notes, pointing out the company’s decision to launch its iPhone 8 and 8 Plus flagships one month ahead of its totally-redesigned iPhone X.
“This year, Apple launched the more expensive models earlier, presumably trying to catch early demand from the most loyal customers.”
Breaking Down the Numbers
As noted in CIRP’s color-coded chart, Apple’s brand-new iPhone XR represented 32 percent of all iPhone sales during its first month of availability, which reflects a two-percent improvement over iPhone X performance during November 2017 (30%). But, most interestingly, is lower than November 2017’s iPhone 8 and 8 Plus purchase rate of 39 percent.
Of course, while 32 percent of overall iPhone sales is still a sizable majority, seeing as how the study measures all iPhones (including models like the 6, 6 Plus, 7, 8, SE and all X variants), it’s worth pointing out how these findings appear to confirm earlier speculation that more people might be buying older iPhones than newer ones.
An Android Exodus?
Also highlighted in CIRP’s report is that more Android users than ever made the switch over to a new iPhone so far during the holiday quarter.
- Lowitz noted that among new iPhone buyers, roughly 82 percent upgraded from another iPhone.
- 16 percent — in contrast to just 11 percent, in November 2017 — upgraded from an Android.
What’s so ironic about these findings is that they’re not only coming off the heels of dismal reports about iPhone XS/XR sales performance, and the tech giant’s new tight-lipped policy announcement — but even though the findings are limited in scope to 165 U.S. customers who purchased an iPhone XR in November 2018, it’s low-key data presented in reports just like this, which will likely serve as our best indicator iPhone sales from this point on.