When it comes to iPhone 5C shopping, early may not necessarily be better. Only two weeks after the device was released, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is offering Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5C for $45 when it is purchased with a two-year service contract. Meanwhile, both RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) are offering customers a $50 gift card with their iPhone 5C purchases, which will bring the total price of the iPhone 5C down to $50 at those retailers.
Walmart’s iPhone 5C sale will run throughout the holiday season, according to a company spokeswoman who spoke to MarketWatch. RadioShack starts its sale on Saturday, while Best Buy’s sale kicks off Friday.
All these retailers are selling the iPhone 5C for a lower price than Apple does. Apple currently sells the iPhone 5C with a two-year contract for $99 through its website.
Walmart already surprised many industry watchers by offering the 16GB iPhone 5C for $79 during the device’s launch weekend. Most retailers don’t go below Apple’s set prices since the company typically provides strong marketing incentives for companies that keep iPhone prices above a certain level.
Walmart’s substantially discounted iPhone 5C price has also raised some questions about the popularity of Apple’s lower-cost iPhone. Although the Cupertino, California-based company reported selling a record-breaking 9 million new iPhones during the opening weekend, Apple did not break those sales numbers down by model.
According to data from mobile app analytics firm Localytics, the iPhone 5S was 2.9 times more popular than the iPhone 5C based on phone activations up until September 26. However, the gap between the two models may shrink further, since Localytics earlier reported that the iPhone 5S was 3.4 times more popular on September 22.
Meanwhile, well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently surmised that Apple likely sold around the same amount of each new iPhone model based on production checks. Regardless of the reasons behind the price discount, consumers who waited to upgrade their iPhone will now have a chance to benefit.
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