A report from research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, LLC has illuminated that Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5S definitely rules the smartphone roost. CIRP released its analysis Tuesday, and the firm explained that it based its findings on a survey of 500 U.S. Apple customers that purchased an iPhone, iPad, or Mac in the U.S. from October to December 2013. CIRP’s results highlight consumer trends for the first full quarter of U.S. sales of the new iPhone 5S and 5C models, which were launched in September 2013.
The firm reported that the iPhone 5S accounted for 59 percent of total iPhone sales in the quarter, while the iPhone 5C accounted for 27 percent of total sales. The remaining 14 percent of total iPhone sales was attributed to that of the legacy iPhone 4S. CIRP compared its results to the launch of the iPhone 5 in September 2012, and found that the iPhone 5S enjoyed a greater share of total sales in its first quarter compared to the iPhone 5 in its first full quarter last year. Following the October-December 2012 quarter, the iPhone 5 accounted for 50 percent of total sales while the then-mid-priced iPhone 4S accounted to 32 percent of sales. Rounding it out, the iPhone 4 took 18 percent of sales in the year-ago quarter, whereas the iPhone 4S only accounted for 14 percent of sales in its first period in 2013.
CIRP’s results illuminate that more U.S. consumers committed to buying Apple’s flagship smartphone upon its debut in 2013, compared to 2012 when customers were certainly investing in the newest phone, but also settling for older generations. The fact that the iPhone 5C only accounted for 27 percent of sales in Apple’s most recent quarter, compared to its counterpart’s 32-percent share in the year ago quarter, evidences that more people in 2013 were sidestepping Apples mid-priced offerings and going right for the flagship gold. Mike Levin, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder, said in a statement Tuesday, “The iPhone 5S appeared to take share from both the mid-priced iPhone 5C and legacy iPhone 4S. In contrast, after the iPhone 5 launched a year ago, the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 continued to sell strongly for many months. In the most recent quarter we also saw models with larger storage capacities sell better than before. We would expect the average selling price for iPhones to increase accordingly.”
CIRP’s findings were based on a consumer pool that was decidedly small, but they nonetheless illuminate that Apple consumers are now showing an increased willingness to hand over the big bucks if they think the newest Apple product is worth their while. Apple purposefully launched its mid-priced iPhone 5C in September 2013 in order to appeal to its more cost-conscious customers, but interestingly enough, an unexpected trend was instead uncovered.
Nonetheless, it’ll be interesting to see what Apple has to say about its iPhone sales when it releases its earnings for the final quarter of 2013 later in January. The Cupertino, California-based company typically releases how many iPhones it sold in the previous quarter, on top of its financial results, so CEO Tim Cook could help elucidate whether its iPhone sales trends in the U.S. mirrored those abroad. Now that more and more users are purchasing smartphones, Apple has worked diligently to release a lower-end phone (the 5C) that could appeal to everyone, so it would be significant if the company’s newest strategy doesn’t end up drawing the conclusions that Apple was expecting. Still, the iPhone 5C was purposed specifically for Apple’s China consumers, so those customers could end up snagging the iPhone 5C more of a share now that both Apple and China Mobile have reported that one million iPhones are en route to the country.