People Aren’t Buying the iPhone X

People Aren't Buying the iPhone X

Apple is a company known for its strategic product announcements. Having released iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus a couple of months ago, consumers were looking forward to the next big thing. iPhone X was the jewel meant to crown 2017 and skyrocket Apple’s sales well into next year. Despite the features that came with iPhone X, the reception the gadget got was less than expected. People are gravitating towards the earlier iPhone models and this dims the performance outlook of iPhone X.

Retailing at $1,579, iPhone X is $350 costlier than iPhone 8 Plus. According to analysts, Apple failed to include enough technologies into iPhone X to significantly set it apart from its earlier counterparts. This could be one of the reasons why customers don’t seem as enthusiastic about the new release.

iPhone X Waiting Times

In late October, iPhone X opened for pre-orders and within 10 minutes, it sold out. There were rumours that the company was having some problems with iPhone X production because of the new features that required new production techniques. Indications from a number of reports further suggested that iPhone X wouldn’t be in shelves until 2018. The waiting time was approximately 5 to 6 weeks and it was projected to increase.

Following its release in November, the waiting time decreased to 1-2 weeks. By the end of November, Apple refreshed its estimates to 1 week which meant customers ordering the phone then should have received it by December 8.

There are mixed reactions pertaining to the shortened waiting times. Some analysts believe that the company has improved its iPhone X production and sales momentum, while others are of the opinion it is the buyers queue that has shortened.

iPhone Sales Yet to Match 2015 Super Cycle

In addition to iPhone X, Apple released iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus this year. The total sales of these 3 models are good so far, but not indicative of a super cycle as yet. According to Cowen and Co., a research company, Apple will likely sell approximately 79 million iPhones in the 3 months ending December. In the same quarter last year, the company sold 78 million units which is slightly under this year’s projected sales.

In the first quarter 2018, Cowen and Co. expects consumers to buy a total of 56 million iPhones across all models which is more than what they sold last year. However, compared to the 2015 peak of 61 million units, this is an 8% decrease.

The 2015 first quarter sales were boosted by the introduction of iPhone 6. This product heralded the beginning of the last super cycle. Apple had delayed bringing large screen smartphones which led to pent-up demand for the devices. Finally, Apple released iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in late 2014 and this made the company enjoy substantial sales.

After the 2015 cycle, iPhone 6s sales declined, causing Apple the first ever iPhone unit decline year-over-year. When iPhone 7 series came, sales picked up a bit at the start, but later declined.

The Differences between iPhone X and iPhone 8

As earlier pointed out, consumers are gradually moving to iPhone 8 and 8 Plus instead of iPhone X. While the price is certainly a key factor, a look at the other differences will help to show what these consumers are sacrificing.

  • Displays – iPhone X has a larger (5.8 inch) OLED display while iPhone 8 has 4.7-inch LCD. This gives iPhone X a much higher pixel density and resolution.
  • Design – iPhone X is compact and only 17% heavier than iPhone 8 which weighs 148g.
  • Camera – Looking at iPhone 8 and iPhone X cameras, the main difference is that the latter has optical zoom and portrait mode which the former doesn’t have.
  • Battery Life – The talk time on iPhone X is up to 21 hours while on iPhone 8 is 14 hours. iPhone X has an advantage on quick charging, but the fact that Apple doesn’t ship fast chargers in the box for all its phone is a turn off bearing in mind their pricing.
  • Additionally, iPhone X incorporates Face ID which replaces the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on iPhone 8.

Inasmuch as iPhone X is Apple’s flagship, consumers are yet to internalise why it is costing so much, yet the difference in features compared to earlier models doesn’t justify the price. Unless Apple thinks about cutting the price of iPhone X, its performance may continue to be below par.




Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.