Apple's iPhone 5c Sales May Be Faring Well After All

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iPhone 5c. Source: Apple.

After Apple reported 9 million iPhone shipments during the launch weekend in September, the Street rallied around a new concern: Were Apple's lower-cost iPhone 5c phones actually making it into consumers' hands, or were many just sitting on retailers' shelves? Some new data from Canaccord Genuity suggests the concern may be overblown.

Though Apple's new iPhones didn't go on sale until Sept. 20, both the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c placed among the top three sellers at the four largest U.S. wireless carriers in during the month of September, according to Canaccord Genuity.


Top 3 Smartphones in September


1. iPhone 5s

2. iPhone 5c

3. Galaxy S4


1. iPhone 5s

2. Galaxy S4

3. iPhone 5c


1. iPhone 5s

2. iPhone 5c

3. Galaxy S4


1. iPhone 5s

2. Galaxy S4

3. iPhone 5c

Source: Data from Canaccord Genuity via AppleInsider.

So what explains the price cuts?
After Apple launched the iPhone 5c, there were several indications that the lower-cost model wasn't doing as well as the company had hoped. First of all, while Apple quickly had to push back iPhone 5s shipment dates on its website, possibly as the model sold out, the company didn't have to do the same for the iPhone 5c. Then, Localytics introduced another layer of concern, estimating that the iPhone 5s was significantly outselling the iPhone 5c in the U.S. by a factor of about 3.4. Internationally, the analytics firm said usage stats suggested the iPhone 5s could be outselling the 5c by a factor of 3.7.

iPhone 5c special offer by RadioShack. Source: RadioShack website.

The sales concerns continued when Best Buy introduced an aggressive discount on the iPhone 5c, giving customers a $50 gift card with a purchase of the phone with a two-year plan. RadioShack initiated the same promotion, and Wal-Mart followed suit by dropping the price of the iPhone 5c on contract to $45 through the holidays.

The price cuts were a surprise, as Apple's new iPhone models typically sell for full price for at least a month before their prices are cut so significantly. Though price cuts soon after a new tech product hits the market usually signal weak demand, this isn't always the case with smartphones, according to All Things D's Ina Fried:

Promotions on phones, even relatively new ones, are not uncommon as retailers such as Best Buy and Amazon trade some of their profit margins in exchange for a higher share of sales for a hot new product. Retailers also can get incentives for signing up new customers -- money which can also be used to fund various promotions. Best Buy, for example, is also running a special right now giving $50 off various Samsung Galaxy phones, including some models of the Galaxy S4.

Maybe there's nothing to worry about Apple's iPhone 5c sales after all. Maybe, for once, Apple has simply managed to successfully ramp up production on the new iPhone models earlier than usual. In fact, Best Buy's promotion for the iPhone 5c, which was scheduled to end yesterday, appears to have not been extended.

The dynamics have certainly changed this year with Apple launching two new iPhone models instead of one. But Canaccord's data suggests that Apple's announcement of more than 9 million iPhone shipments during the launch weekend (compared to 5 million last year) may truly be indicative of demand.

Will Apple introduce an entirely new product?
Apple has a history of cranking out revolutionary products... and then creatively destroying them with something better. Read about the future of Apple in the free report, "Apple Will Destroy Its Greatest Product." Can Apple really disrupt its own iPhones and iPads? Find out by clicking here.

The article Apple's iPhone 5c Sales May Be Faring Well After All originally appeared on

Fool contributor Daniel Sparks owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends and Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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