CIRP: Apple’s flagship iPhone 5s outselling iPhone 5c two to one

“Asked during Apple’s last earnings call if he feared the higher end of the smartphone market was nearing saturation, CEO Tim Cook said he did not,” John Paczkowski reports for AllThingsD. “‘I don’t subscribe to the common view that the higher end, if you will, of the smartphone market is at its peak,’ Cook said. ‘I don’t believe that.'”

“Turns out Cook had good reason to take that view,” Paczkowski reports. “In September, Apple launched a pair of new iPhones, the flagship iPhone 5s and the mid-tier iPhone 5c, and a new analysis by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) shows that the higher-end 5s has been outselling the lower-priced 5c.”

“According to CIRP’s survey of consumers who purchased Apple’s latest iPhones during the last days of September, the 5s accounted for 64 percent of total iPhone sales following its launch that month,” Paczkowski reports. “Meanwhile, the the 5c accounted for 27 percent, with the legacy iPhone 4S making up the remaining 9 percent.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Sure. Why not pay a little more for a lot more phone? I have two 64 gig space grey iPhone 5s’s coming on the 22nd. I think that’s the way most consumers think. Although I do understand that there is still a large market for a more economically priced phone.The 5C fills that niche. The 5C takes care of some of the people who have to pinch their pennies and also those who are new to the Apple ecosystem.

  2. The 5C has been priced to remain on the shelves. It’s Apple’s secret weapon to rival Samsung and go one up on the ‘sales have been smooth’ concept of stocks sitting on shelves.

    No one with half a brain would buy a 5C over a 5S. But then there’s very little thinking going on at Apple Corps these days. The iOS 7 debacle is but one example of inexcusable thinking.

    iOS 7 + 5C = loser in the making.

    1. Why is it that people who think differently than you or are in a different situation from you are deemed to have half a brain?

      My son just bought a 5c to replace his 3GS. He chose it over the 5S for financial reasons. And in contrast to the SteveJack financial model, my son’s reasoning is perfectly appropriate: it’s a flat out $100 difference! What SteveJack fails to account for is the many households where the parents pay the monthly service charges but the young adults pay for their phone on subsidized contract.

  3. The 2:1 sale ratio makes a lot of sense to me. A lot of people are going out of contract and waiting to replace their current phone. Most you would expect will trade up from a 4S to the 5S. Those that get the 5C probably want a more colorful product and are less bothered about the tech.
    The 5C will become more relevant in 6 months time. We saw last year growth in iPhone sales from the lower end models as customers wanted to trade up from feature and android phones. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same happens again next year.

    1. All of those analysts are usually clueless and useless, but if you combine their “findings” here is the picture: iPhone 5C is manufactured at rate about 13.5 million units for calendar Q4. 2:1 ratio means that iPhone 5S sales are going to be about 27 million. Plus, 9% of iPhone 4S share translates to 4.5 million units. This makes total quantity of iPhone sold equal to 45 million, which is flat year over the year, as Apple sold 46.2 million iPhone in calendar 2012Q4.

      If the figure will be near to this, then it means that the market is actually saturated, despite what Timothy Cook thinks.

      If Apple will show growth and sell more than 50 million iPhones, more like 53-55 million, there Cook is right and the saturation is not reached yet; lets see.

  4. The numbers would have been almost identical had Apple not substituted plastic for the far more expensive and time consuming metal case. This way at least margins remain healthy and the cnc machines can stay busy keeping up with sales of the premium phones instead of the discounted model.

  5. Horseshit. Their time period was “the last days in September”. The people that would line up at the stores and the early adopters aren’t the ones the 5C is targeted at… no one lines up for last year’s model no matter how pretty. I have no doubt both phones will sell well to their prospective customers, I have every doubt that CIRP used a reasonable polling method.

    I’ll believe Apple’s numbers.

      1. Thanks @Spark… You’re absolutely correct – I went back and re-read and found the CIRP quote where they basically agree with my assessment… the less expensive (or last year’s) phones ramp up over time. Please redirect all above vitriol toward Paczkowski, not CIRP 🙂

      2. Spark is quite right, you would not expect many people to rush out to buy a 5C on it’s opening weekend, so the figures for the end of September are inevitably going to be skewed in favour of the 5S.

        However the 5C is likely to make up ground as people’s contracts run out and they look around for a replacement. My guess is that the 5C will make steady and solid sales throughout the year to people who want a high quality phone, but don’t need the latest and greatest. When offered as a free or very low cost phone to somebody signing a new contract, it will be very appealing.

      3. Also important to note is that CIRP surveyed US consumers who bought in the last days of September. Factoring international data will change those numbers, as reports have shown the 5C very popular in China and Japan.

  6. For families that are considering getting their kids a first cell phone, the 5C is a great entry-level product.

    My kids have hand-me down 4S’s right now. Upgrades are coming up for them, and they will likely get 5C’s as Christmas presents. I don’t believe they need 5S’s until my wife and I are ready to hand ours down to them when we upgrade to the “next big thing.” With 5 kids (soon to be 6), the kids benefit from the hand me downs and I benefit from the lower pricing on last year’s models.

    Apple knows what it’s doing.

  7. Most buyers aren’t naive — they know that the 5c is last year’s hardware in a teeny-bopper plastic wrapper. Apple tried to clear the shelves, but any remaining inventory of metal iPhone 5 models in the wild flew off the shelves after the 5c was announced. And now Apple retailers are discounting the 5C because it’s moving relatively sluggishly.

    Apple would have been wiser to offer the 5c in two more colors: a black model and a Code Red model, and axe the (relatively) antiquated 4S phone from all first-world markets.

    Also, not to belabor a well-known point, but iOS7 isn’t exactly endearing itself to adult buyers either. Apple just gave most retailers another reason to claim “Android is better”. The eye candy just doesn’t look mature and professional, which of course is the first thing prospective buyers compare when looking at new handsets side by side. Ives needs to learn that GUI user legibility & customization is more important than the radius of the plastic corners.

  8. Where The Hell Is The Device I Ordered On 09/23!!!!!!! I still don’t haven’t received the tracking number email from Rogers! WTH!!!

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