The latest model iPhones are dominating U.S. sales of devices Apple’s smartphone family, but the 6s and 6s Plus still lag behind the record-breaking figures generated by the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, a new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) found.
According to CIRP, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus account for a combined 61 percent of total U.S. iPhone sales in March 2016, with 43 percent of consumers springing for the iPhone 6s and 28 percent of buyers opting for the 6s Plus.
While clearly dominant, however, CIRP found these figure are still far behind those drawn by the iPhone 6 a year ago. At that time, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus accounted for combined 78 percent of total U.S. iPhone sales. The iPhone 6 gained a sales share 13 percentage points higher than the subsequent iPhone 6s with 56 percent of sales while the iPhone 6 Plus sales came in at 22 percent.
Interestingly, CIRP also found a dip in sales of the smaller iPhone 5s. As of the end of March, the 5s accounted for just 6 percent of U.S. iPhone sales, compared to well over 10 percent in the December quarter and nearly 15 percent in March 2015.
That downward trend could spell trouble for the iPhone SE, the upgraded version of Apple’s four-inch iPhone released last month.
At launch, Apple said the iPhone SE was meant to address a demand for a smaller iPhone from both iPhone enthusiasts and first-time iPhone users who gravitate toward the more manageable size. Last year, Apple said, the company sold more than 30 million four-inch iPhones.
The CIRP report comes just ahead of Apple’s earnings release tomorrow, but news will come as no surprise to Apple watchers.
In January, Apple warned it was expecting its first sales decline in more than a decade in the January to March quarter and said revenue could fall more than 8 percent year-over-year for that period.
The dip is forecast to come as Apple struggles to match or exceed the success it had with the major form factor change in the iPhone 6. Apple sold a monstrous 74.5 million iPhones in the holiday season following the iPhone 6 launch, and its success carried over into the new year to help it sell an additional 61 million iPhones in the January to March quarter 2015.
Neither Apple nor analysts think the company has any chance of matching the latter numbers.
Earlier this month, BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk said the firm had cut its Fiscal 2016 and 2017 estimates for the company by 10 million units and was expecting Apple to sell around 50 million iPhones in the March quarter. Piecyk cited sluggish phone sales in the United States and oversees, as well as a lengthening of upgrade cycles, as the reason for the change.
Even Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty’s more optimistic estimate of 56.6 million iPhones sold in the first quarter fell far short of the 61 million mark set by the iPhone 6.
Apple has also braced for slower sales, having slashed production for the January to March quarter by nearly 30 percent year over year. The company reportedly told suppliers it will need to continue the reduced production output through its current quarter.