Analyst: iPhone Sales Slow in Cheaper Smartphone Market

Will the overall market shift to low-cost smartphones leave Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the dust?  According to a new quarterly survey conducted by Jefferies’ analyst Peter Misek, sales of the iPhone are continuing to slow, as cheaper off-brand devices are becoming a more popular consumer choice.

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Misek surveyed multiple retailers in the U.S. and Europe about customer interest and satisfaction in various models of smartphones and tablets. Based on this informal survey, Misek concludes that mobile device prices are trending downward as more “white-box,” or cheaper off-brand devices, infiltrate mature markets.

He believes that this trend will negatively impact Apple’s iPhone sales, as more consumers turn towards cheaper mobile device options. Due to this greater demand, Misek expects low-cost smartphones and tablets to “continue explosive growth.”

“Our checks indicate iPhone sell-through is trending downward (Jun Q ~30M vs. Mar Q of 35M). Sep Q build plans firmed up at 40M-45M, giving us confidence in a Sep launch. iPad minis are cannibalizing more than expected. We expect a refreshed iPad lineup with iPad mini 2 (retina display) in Oct.,” wrote Misek in a note to investors via Barron’s.

Perhaps in response to this trend, Misek predicts that Apple will produce 25 to 30 million low-cost iPhones for the December quarter. He believes this is approximately half of Apple’s total production of 60 to 65 million iPhone units for that quarter.

Misek also notes that Apple’s loss will be Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) gain. The analyst believes that Samsung will sell 70 to 80 million of its various smartphones each quarter this year as “volumes explode” for cheaper devices.

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Apple closed up 0.76 percent, or $3.35, at $441.81 today. Here’s how Apple has traded over this past week.

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