Apple shares have been getting hammered recently as fears mount that Apple’s iPhone sales growth is finally starting to slow. The company has managed to maintain a breakneck pace since the iPhone debuted back in 2007, but analysts now fear that last year’s iPhone 6 performance — namely, the company’s record holiday quarter last year — might have been the end of the line where rapid growth is concerned.
Firm after firm has piled on since worrisome reports first started popping up, though most are simply playing follow the leader and have nothing original of value to offer. This is not the case with the results of a new study released on Thursday by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, however, which offers new data that may also point to a slower quarter than the Street had hoped for.
According to the firm’s research, Apple’s current iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus smartphones were not able to dominate the comapany’s smartphone lineup during the holiday quarter to the extent that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus did in the year-ago quarter.
CIRP’s data suggests that the iPhone 6s made up 48% of all U.S. iPhone sales during Apple’s fiscal first quarter, while the iPhone 6s Plus accounted for 19% of all iPhone sales. Meanwhile in the same quarter a year earlier, CIRP says that Apple’s iPhone 6 represented 45% of all iPhone sales in America while the 6 Plus captured a healthy 30% of sales.
The lighter mix of current-generation iPhone models doesn’t work in Apple’s favor, presuming CIRP’s data is accurate — a higher percentage of previous-generation models would mean tighter margins.
“The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus did quite well,” said Josh Lowitz, CIRP Partner and CoFounder. “Yet, they did not dominate the same way that iPhone 6 and 6 Plus did a year ago. The total share of the new flagship models fell below the share of the then-new phones in 2014, and the large-format iPhone 6s Plus share of sales dropped compared to the iPhone 6 Plus as well. Customers continue to choose the year-old iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and even the two-year old iPhone 5S.”
Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were the first new iPhones to feature substantially larger displays, and pent-up demand for bigger iPhones last year led to the most profitable quarter in history for Apple. Maintaining that pace would be a remarkable feat for Apple, but it appears as though it might not be in the cards.