iPhone 5C Demand Lower Than Projected: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-10-17 Print this article Print

Apple's iPhone 5C's sales are less than stellar, reports say. In fact, a recent note to investors from analyst Canaccord Genuity said Apple's iPhone 5S is outselling the iPhone 5C by a ratio of 2.5 to 1. Another analyst note from CIRP said the ratio is 2 to 1. Those claims came after reports surfaced that Apple was cutting its iPhone 5C production in step with lower demand. In other words, the iPhone 5C isn't generating the kind of sales Apple had expected and it's now revising its orders. While it's easy for the market to determine that the iPhone 5C isn't selling as strongly as Apple hoped, few have actually said why the iPhone 5C sales are disappointing. Perhaps, that's because the device has only been available for about a month and quite a bit can happen between now and when it will be replaced next year. Still, it's clear that the iPhone 5C isn't a sales barn burner, and to not acknowledge that would be a mistake. This slide show looks at why iPhone 5C demand might not be as strong as it could be.

  • iPhone 5C Demand Lower Than Projected: 10 Reasons Why

    by Don Reisinger
    1 - iPhone 5C Demand Lower Than Projected: 10 Reasons Why
  • It's Not a Major Upgrade

    If the iPhone 5C were a major upgrade over the iPhone 5, Apple would have more of a chance to attract customers. Instead, the company delivered a product that is essentially the same as the iPhone 5, but with different colors. That's not enough to at least make current iPhone owners want to buy the handset.
    2 - It's Not a Major Upgrade
  • Vibrant Colors Don't Matter

    There was a belief in Cupertino that vibrant colors would matter to smartphone customers. But it appears that is not such a big sales point. Yes, customers want colors, but as the iPhone 5S' success has shown, what they really like is elegant options, like the gold iPhone 5S. Apple might have overplayed its hand with the myriad colors for the iPhone 5C.
    3 - Vibrant Colors Don't Matter
  • Early Adopters Are Buying Now

    Before we get too far ahead of ourselves and say for sure that the iPhone 5C is a dud, it's important to point out that the device has only been on store shelves for a month, and right now, early adopters are buying new Apple handsets. And as history has shown, early adopters tend to be power users, and they gravitate to the high-end devices. That means they're attracted to the iPhone 5S, not the iPhone 5C.
    4 - Early Adopters Are Buying Now
  • The Price Difference Is Only Slight

    The iPhone 5C might be a relatively affordable device, coming in at $99 with a two-year contract, but considering the cheapest iPhone 5S costs $199, the difference isn't so significant that customers on a budget can't opt for the 16GB iPhone 5S. Recent reports out of China have suggested that the close proximity in price has caused customers to opt for the iPhone 5S. It's likely that is the case elsewhere around the world.
    5 - The Price Difference Is Only Slight
  • Don't Forget Apple's Financial Interests

    Although Apple is generating major profits on each iPhone 5C it sells, one of the key metrics Wall Street cares about is ASPs, or average selling prices. By selling more iPhone 5S units, Apple can boost its ASPs and, thus, impress its investors. That means Apple would want to push the iPhone 5S more than the iPhone 5C to keep producing impressive ASPs over the long-term.
    6 - Don't Forget Apple's Financial Interests
  • Carriers Go With What Works

    Carriers always play a crucial role in pushing mobile devices into the market. If a device isn't selling all that well, it'll be pushed aside for a device that is. It's possible that some carrier outlets are tending to push the iPhone 5S over the iPhone 5C because of the higher profit margin. Look for that to be a nagging issue for the iPhone 5C.
    7 - Carriers Go With What Works
  • Power Matters

    The iPhone 5S is a powerful device, featuring Apple's A7 processor and the M7 coprocessor designed for fitness and sports apps. The iPhone 5C, meanwhile, takes a back seat in terms of processing power, especially when it's compared with Android-based competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S 4 or HTC One Max. Power matters to today's customers. It just may be a fact that iPhone buyers bypass the iPhone 5C because they don't mind paying a bit extra for the full-featured model.
    8 - Power Matters
  • There's A High-Quality Option in the iPhone 4S

    Let's not forget that Apple is still selling the iPhone 4S. Sure, the handset is a few years old, but for customers on a budget, getting the device as part of their mobile service contract is an attractive option. What's more, the iPhone 4S is a great option for prepaid carrier customers and those who use mobile virtual network operators for their services.
    9 - There's A High-Quality Option in the iPhone 4S
  • Is It the Wrong Year?

    Did Apple make a mistake by offering a second-tier smartphone when it wasn't introducing a major update? If the iPhone 5C was made available when the iPhone 6 hit store shelves, there would have been a larger step for novice users to get the latest and greatest iPhone. Instead, the iPhone 5C is coming out in a year when novices and advanced users, alike, could benefit from the iPhone 5S. That's an issue.
    10 - Is It the Wrong Year?
  • China's Response Has Been Lukewarm

    As noted, many customers have been buying the iPhone 5S in China. But there's more to that story. According to several reports out of the country, Apple had expected to sell far more iPhone 5C units in China, but instead, the country is opting for the iPhone 5S at an extremely rapid rate. The gold iPhone 5S is especially popular and some had speculated prior to the handset's launch that Apple's decision to go gold was partly due to its potential appeal in China.
    11 - China's Response Has Been Lukewarm

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