Apple’s iPhone 5C a Far Cry From Failure

Source: Apple.com

Source: Apple.com

Many industry watchers have noted that Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) mid-tier iPhone 5C has been far less successful than the flagship iPhone 5S model. According to the latest data from mobile analytics platform Mixpanel, Apple’s iPhone 5C model only accounted for 6.55 percent of the total number of active iPhones. On the other hand, approximately one out of every five iPhones currently in use is the iPhone 5S model. The sales disparity between the two iPhone models has even led some pundits to label the iPhone 5C a “failure.”

However, it appears that the iPhone 5C only looks like a flop when it is compared to the highly successful iPhone 5S. As recently pointed out by Apple Insider, by every other measure, the iPhone 5C is a resounding success. According to Canaccord Genuity data cited by Apple Insider, the mid-tier iPhone 5C managed to outsell every Android-based flagship smartphone in the fourth quarter of last year, including Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) Galaxy S4. Not surprisingly, the iPhone 5C also outsold every device from struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), as well as all smartphones powered by Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone mobile operating system.

As noted by Apple Insider, the iPhone 5C’s first month of sales were even more impressive. Besides outselling Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4, the iPhone 5C also pushed every other Android-based smartphone out of the top U.S. sales charts. That was no small feat considering that Android-based smartphones hold over a 50 percent share of the smartphone platform market in the U.S., according to the latest data from comScore.

Apple released the iPhone 5C alongside the iPhone 5S last September. It was the first time that Apple had ever released two models simultaneously and the move may have caused some confusion among industry watchers when it came to judging the success of the two different iPhone models. However, since Apple likely has higher margins its flagship iPhone 5S, the comparatively lower sales numbers for the iPhone 5C could also be interpreted as higher overall profits for the company.

Besides outselling Android-based smartphone makers, the iPhone 5C may have also lured more former Android users to Apple’s platform. Last quarter, a report from market analyst company Kantar Worldpanel found that “The cheaper 5C appeals to a broader audience than Apple usually attracts. Almost half of iPhone 5C owners switched from competitor brands, particularly Samsung and LG.”

Apple’s iPhone 5C may soon be attracting even more users from its Android-based competitors. On March 18, Apple introduced a cheaper 8GB capacity iPhone 5C in Australia, China, France, Germany, and the U.K.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter (@ArnoldEtan_WSCS)        

More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet: