In spite of the much publicised short queues and underwhelming reception to the iPhone 8’s launch, sales of Apple’s new handset are in line with expectations.
According to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, worries over a slower release (in comparison with the regular fervour surrounding an iPhone launch) have been exaggerated by an ‘excessively negative market’, citing analysis of first weekend sales and research from Localytics.
Much had been made of the fact that there weren’t the big visible queues of previous launches, with the general feeling being that more consumers are holding out for the more expensive iPhone X which is launching in November.
— Mirror Tech (@MirrorTech) September 22, 2017
iPhone 8 on sale today, gets ho-hum reception. Line outside one Apple store this morning- 12 people. Another has queue set up- 0 waiting. pic.twitter.com/ICNv5sgJOE
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) September 22, 2017
While Kuo agrees that the launch wasn’t as highly attended as previous ones, but he also says that demand is in line with the company’s production plan. Apple is, he says, dedicating half of its smartphone manufacturing capability to the iPhone X. That makes sense given the first-week sales figures, which indicate that adoption rates for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are about half that of the two previous models.
Part of the reason why the adoption rate has been underwhelming is also down to cellular carrier and contract channels being overlooked. Kuo said that market analysts have the tendency to focus on the momentum in retail outlets that primarily deal in unlocked or contractless devices, such as Apple stores.
"While we acknowledge that queues outside SIM-free channels have been much shorter than after previous iPhone launches, we see stable first-weekend demand for the iPhone 8/8 Plus in carrier channels," Kuo wrote. "Most of those camping outside unlocked-device outlets are presumably hardcore Apple fans and heavy users, whose plan this year is to gear up for the iPhone X."
Apple itself seems content with the demand for the iPhone 8, with Tim Cook saying in a TV interview: "We’ve sold out of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in some stores, but we’ve got good supply there. You can see what’s going on here this morning — I couldn’t be happier."