About a month ago, a survey conducted by KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst John Vinh suggested that the iPhone 8 was being outsold by the iPhone 7, which would obviously be a rare occurrence following the launch of a new iPhone. But this week, a report from research firm Canalys backed up that assertion with new shipment data.
According to Canalys, Apple’s iPhone 7 was the best-shipping smartphone in the world in the third quarter of 2017, shipping 13 million units. 2016’s iPhone 6s came in second, Samsung’s Galxay J2 Prime came in third and Oppo rounded out the top five with each of the final two spots. The iPhone 8 didn’t crack the top 5.
Here’s what Canalys had to say about iPhone 8 shipments, which, even when combined, couldn’t top the iPhone 7:
“Apple shipped 46.7 million smartphones in Q3 2017. The new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus accounted for 11.8 million of these. This falls well short of its predecessor, the iPhone 7 line, which topped 14 million in its first quarter. But while Apple shipped 5.4 million units of the iPhone 8, it shipped 6.3 million of the larger iPhone 8 Plus. This makes the iPhone 8 Plus the first iPhone Plus model to out-ship its smaller sibling in a single quarter.”
There are a few interesting revelations here. First of all, it’s clear that the delayed release of the iPhone X had a real impact on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Secondly, for consumers who didn’t care enough to wait for the iPhone X (or didn’t want to spend $1,000 on a phone), the iPhone 8 Plus was the more desirable option.
“Shipments of older devices, such as the iPhone 6s and SE, saw an uptick in Q3,” said Canalys analyst Ben Stanton. “The iPhone 7 also shipped strongly after its price cut in September. Apple grew in Q3, but it was these older, cheaper models that propped up total iPhone shipments. Apple is clearly making a portfolio play here. With the launch of the iPhone X, it now has five tiers of iPhone and delivers iOS at more price bands than ever before. This is a new strategy for Apple. It is aggressively defending its market share, but it will not compromise its rigid margin structure to do so.”