Apple seems to have made a habit of shocking Wall Street at the gaps between guidance and reality of late. After a slow holiday season, Apple suggested that Q2 was going to be very low and went on to sell more iPhones than any other quarter. I knew weeks before the street did. I knew because at Argus Insights we listen to consumers. When you listen to enough consumers, you can see where the market is going. Thanks to efforts by US carriers to move handsets with very aggressive promotions and continued success in China (yup, we listen to consumers around the world), Apple crushed it in Q2. We’re still listening to consumers and as soon as the quarter closed we knew what to expect from Apple.
We saw robust demand in the US, Europe and China for Apple iPhones, with sell-through in Q3 on par or above that of Q1, the holiday season. Apple continues to do well against Samsung in China but we are seeing some softness in the US market where Samsung demand went up while Apple’s dropped, but lower than expected. Consumer interest in the iPhone 5S has slowed in both the US and China. It is most disturbing in China where we see interest in the iPhone 4S exceed that of the 5S and 5C. Interest fell in the 5C at a lower rate in the US. So while Argus believes Apple will outperform Q3 2013, seeing the rapid drop in interest for the flagship iPhone 5S so far ahead of their next product launch signals a rough Q4 for iPhone sales.
I’ll go into detail of our methods and findings in a free webinar we are hosting on Monday 21 July at 1PM PST ahead of Apple’s earnings release the next day. You can sign up for one of the limited seats at http://www.argusinsights.com/webinars/apple_q3_earnings_webinar.html. Our proprietary methods of active consumer listening have enabled Argus Insights to beat Wall Street estimates of iPhone sales for almost every quarter for the past two years. Listen in on Monday to learn what we hear whispering around the corner for Apple and others in the Smartphone market.