Most Americans who purchased an iPhone last quarter couldn’t afford or just didn’t want to spend at least $1,000 for the premium XS model, instead opting for the cheaper, more colorful XR.
The most wallet-friendly of Apple’s latest smartphones, the XR, outsold the pricier XS and XS Max combined in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to new data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).
Based on a survey of 500 Americans who purchased an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch between October and December 2018, the market research firm on Thursday reported that the iPhone XR, which didn’t even hit the market until Oct. 26, accounted for 39 percent of US iPhone sales during the period. Together, the XS and XS Max, which Apple released on Sept. 21, accounted for 26 percent, with the larger XS Max outselling the XS by more than two-to-one.
“The three new models made up 65 percent of sales, compared to 61 percent for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X a year ago,” CIRP Partner and Co-Founder Josh Lowitz said in a statement. “The mix among the new phones is interesting, however. The single iPhone XR model almost matched the combined iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in the same quarter last year. iPhone XR also had the largest quarterly share for a single model, at 39 percent, in the past couple of years, since the then-new iPhone 7 in December 2016.”
Meanwhile in China, Apple and Xiaomi both “lost ground” in the smartphone market last quarter, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.
“The Chinese smartphone market is in recession and has declined for five consecutive quarters,” Strategy Analytics Senior Analyst Yiwen Wu said in a statement. “The smartphone market is suffering from longer replacement cycles and weak consumer spending. The past year has been exceptionally tough and one the smartphone industry will want to forget.”
During the fourth quarter, smartphone shipments in China declined 11 percent annually to 108 million units, Strategy Analytics said. Huawei came out on top, shipping 30 million units to capture 28 percent market share. Oppo took second place, followed closely by Vivo. Apple came in fourth and managed to overtake Xiaomi, though iPhone shipments dropped 22 percent annually during the period.
In a statement, Strategy Analytics Director Linda Sui said it was Apple’s “worst performance since early 2017.”
“Apple iPhone has now fallen on a year-over-year basis in China for 8 of the past 12 quarters,” Sui said. “Apple has been under pressure in China for the past three years. Ongoing patent battles with Qualcomm are a distraction, while Apple is being heavily criticized for its expensive retail prices. Apple is in danger of pricing the iPhone out of China.”