) stands in the smartphone market is clear: The iPhone is the one
to beat. It's simultaneously a leader in specs and a vanity status
symbol. The high end is its territory.
So when shoppers were given the choice between the latest iPhone
and the ever so slightly cheaper iPhone 5C, they decided to go big
or go home. Data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners
(CIRP) shows that the newest flagship iPhone 5S is outselling the
cheaper one by more than two to one.
According to CIRP (via
All Things D
), the 5S accounted for 64% of total handset sales for Apple in the
last days of September. The 5C only took 27% of sales, and the now
two-year-old 4S making up the rest.
In some ways, this is good news for Apple. The 5C is cheaper, and
presumably comes at a lower margin. Analysts feared that if a
lower-margin product ate up some of Apple's own market share, its
profit margins would eventually suffer. IHS
that the cost of building and shipping the iPhone 5S is only 30% of
the sticker price. That's the gold mine that makes Apple
shareholders rich. Then again, there was plenty of reason to accept
the lower margins because the higher-end already bought them. Maps
with pinpoints indicating which cell phones people
use corresponds very well to a map showing income
In the map above, made by data visualization expert
, the red dots represent geolocated tweets from iPhone users; the
green dots are from
) Androids. Manhattan and the well-heeled parts of Brooklyn and the
New Jersey waterfront make up iPhone country. Central Brooklyn,
Jersey City, and Newark have a much higher concentration of Android
phones. Anecdotally, it seems like all of the beautiful, successful
people in the world (
) to hawk Windows Phone), are iPhone users already. Of course Apple
realizes the need to grab some of the middle shelf.
So if a middle-class buyer decides to get an Apple product, he or
she knows that the product is a status symbol. Why get a brightly
colored one that advertises that you didn't go all the way?
Of course, this is still early days, a time when die-hard Apple
zealots and early adopters
buy stupid amounts of electronics.
When the holiday season comes and people give them as gifts, the
cheaper iPhone might sell a little faster. For the geeks, however,
you can't go halfway on a status symbol.