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04 December 20130 Comments by Jon M

Has the iPhone 5C tanked?

iphone 5c

It’s been a few months since Apple’s release of its new mobile phones, the flagship iPhone 5S and the “budget” option, the iPhone 5C. It’s fair to say that the sales figures have been very impressive – within just days of the launch in September, Apple had shifted almost ten million iPhones making it a new sales record for the Cupertino company.

However, industry analysts have not failed to notice that Apple did not reveal the split in sales between the two devices. And, in actual fact, it turns out that there’s a fairly significant difference. The actual disparity is far bigger than most people were previously predicting.

We’ve seen the latest report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech which suggests that the more expensive iPhone 5S is outselling the 5C by a threefold factor. Kantar Worldpanel is a well-established market research company that has been headquartered in London since 1997. Their latest research report looked at data from UK sales up until the end of October.

Following the initial announcement announcement of the phone, the lacklustre specs of the 5C combined with the relatively high price led many to predict it would suffer from poor sales. However, almost no one expected the discrepancy to be quite so significant.

It is tempting to see the relatively poor sales of the iPhone 5C to be a failure. After all, Apple has been dogged by reports that have been artificially-constricting the supply of the 5S in order to try and shift more units of the less desirable 5C. Factually, it is certainly the case that the 5S has been barely able to keep up with demand. And it has also been reported that Apple’s Chinese factories are shifting production away from the 5C to produce five best handsets at a faster rate.

However, despite having a much higher price then almost any other handset on the market, evidence does suggest that the iPhone 5C is making some inroads into its target market of poorer households, especially in richer Western nations. Twice the proportion of iPhone 5C owners have lower incomes when compared to owners of the iPhone 5S.

Most encouraging for Apple is the fact that the 5C is drawing customers away from their big rivals; Samsung in particular. While the vast majority of iPhone 5S owners were already Apple converts and had upgraded from a previous iteration of the iOS smartphone, the iPhone 5C seems to be winning over new customers with about 50% of the buyers coming from competing brands. Certainly its lower price point has a huge part to play in that.

One mustn’t be too hasty to declare the 5C success, though. Arguably the cost is out of reach of the majority of consumers and, despite an aggressive marketing campaign, only older and cheaper models of the iPhone have any chance of making substantial inroads into emerging markets around the world.

Indeed, Apple’s market share overall is still in decline. So while the iPhone is shifting boxes at a frenetic pace, Android and Windows Phone are taking ever-increasing bites out of Apple’s share of the smartphone market. In fact, the latest figures show that Google’s Android is by far the most popular mobile platform in Britain largely due to the widescale availability of lower-priced handsets running the operating system.

With the entrance of cut-price Chinese manufacturers such as Lenovo, Zopo and Star into European markets, we predict that this trend will only continue into 2014. It’s likely that android we running on more and more people’s phones over the coming few years especially if Apple refuses to be competitive in the lower income price ranges.

Smartphones are now truly mass-market devices – almost every new mobile phone sold nowadays in Britain is a touchscreen smartphone. Already, Android is on more than seven out of every ten mobile phones in Europe and dominates more than half the market in the UK. Meanwhile, Apple’s lingering behind but less than 30% of the market and BlackBerry has been almost entirely squeezed out with less than 3% according to the latest figures and this year.

So, what you make of these figures and the report that the iPhone 5S is outselling the iPhone 5C by three to one? Does this latest new surprise you at all or is it what you’ve come to expect from the latest iPhone launch? And how do you see the battle between Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS continuing over the course of next year? Please let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

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