Piper Jaffray: Popularity endures in US for Apple’s iPhone 5s while 5c demand fades

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster “surveyed more than 1,000 [U.S.] consumers about potential purchase in the next three months and found that the device remains popular, despite the likely release of a new model later this year,” Tiernan Ray reports for Barron’s.

Munster notes: Of those consumers looking to purchase a smartphone, 39% expect to purchase an iPhone compared to 44% in Dec-13 and 50% in Sep-13 (immediately after the iPhone 5S launch). We believe the positive news from our survey is that the iPhone 5S seems to be holding its ground well even though we are approaching six months in age (half life in terms of timeline to the next launch). 33% of smartphone buyers expect to buy an iPhone 5S vs 35% in Dec-13. However, the iPhone 5C seem to be fading from its already lower position in consumers’ minds as only 6% of buyers intend to buy a 5C vs 9% in Dec-13. We remain comfortable with our 37.5 million iPhone unit estimate (flat y/y) for March.

Full article here.

“Munster speculated that consumers see a significant value increase in the iPhone 5s, which is priced starting at $100 more than the iPhone 5c with a two-year contract subsidy,” Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider. “The iPhone 5s sports a faster A7 processor, a metal back, and the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor.”

“The analyst also believes that the colors of the iPhone 5c may not be as appealing to consumers, as many simply place a case over their smartphone, giving it a unique look regardless of what color the device may be,” Hughes reports. “He noted that while Apple found success bringing colors to its iPod lineup, most owners of the company’s portable media players did not place cases on their iPods.”

Apple CEO Tim “Cook said last week that sales of the iPhone 5c are outpacing its predecessor, which was previously the mid-range iPhone 4s. Apple continues to set record quarterly iPhone sales, though growth has slowed considerably as the smartphone market has matured,” Hughes reports. “Munster said in a note to investors on Monday that he feels comfortable with his forecast of 37.5 million iPhones sold in the current March quarter — a number that would be flat year over year.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Why would anyone buy an iPhone 5c instead of an iPhone 5s? – September 10, 2013


    1. Yes, and here’s how. The message is floated throughout the media. Casual consumers unconsciously process messages that are reinforced through repetition. Their impressions of product desirability are largely subliminal, and yet greatly influence buying decisions which are only superficially rational.

      Still, as effective as such fuddish disinformation can be, it eventually gives way to a more powerful form of persuasion — word of mouth. We all tend to trust friends, family members, and acquaintances far more that lofty pundits. If someone we know is a satisfied customer, that’s a recommendation that outweighs a dozen sneering reviews in that truth-starved information swamp called the Internet.

    2. True, Muster is a pundit.

      However, he’s parroting customer surveys, so the data should reflect customer intentions.

      This seems like more evidence to suggest that Samsung’s strategy of offering a wide array of devices is a winning one. Copycat or not, they’re growing dramatically faster than Apple while Apple is losing credibility with both new customers and investors. Apple’s strategy of selling old iPhone stock in pastel wrappers simply isn’t as compelling. The most profitable market segments want the latest and best; and the mainstream wants a less complicated/powerful/expensive/over-featured version — NOT a 2+ year old flagship product; and the low end of the market wants only a basic phone/texting/internet device. Apple needs to learn how to profitably serve the mainstream and emerging markets or else the Windows versus Mac war will play out the same in the end.

      1. The problems not addressed in his survey responses are twofold:

        1. The first number was 50%, taken in September when the iPhone 5S fever was at its highest and many people were holding off buying a new iPhone as the new model was about to be released;

        2. The second number was 44% and was taken right between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when some people had already bought the new iPhone (5s or 5c) or were planning to do so as a gift.

        3. The last number, 39%, is post-holiday sales, typically the weakest sales quarter of the year.

        Munster fails to add such perspective, and thus his analysis is off.

  1. When the next iPhone lineup is release, it will have a “new look” iPhone at the top. The current iPhone 5s continues its run as the middle model, with good product differentiation from the new top model. And the current iPhone 5c also continues its run (also with good differentiation) as the “free with contract” iPhone. The 5c will see renewed (and probably MORE) popularity as the $0 option.

  2. I would like to suggest that ‘flat sales’ can be very impressive indeed.
    Flat sales represents a number a products that cost a great deal to become desired.
    If sales originally considered to be good, are a year later without any costs are the same. How is it so obviously a sign of tragedy at the helm?

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