According to Counterpoint Research’s Monthly Market Pulse report, global Apple iPhone sales grew a healthy 26% annually crossing 20 million unit monthly sales mark for the first time ever in November 2014. Apple’s iPhone volumes grew across key countries with timely global roll out of flagship iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus models and also helped by relatively lower priced iPhone 5s & 5c, targeting prepaid users in emerging markets.
Japan, Korea and China were the bright spots where Apple registered a higher than expected demand for its newer and bigger display sporting iPhone 6 & 6 Plus models.
Apple’s iPhone market share soared and reached record levels in Japan and Korea markets. In Japan, one of the most premium smartphone markets in the world, Apple captured more than half of the smartphone sales in October as well as November. Japan has been one of the strongest market for Apple and it is becoming increasingly difficult for competition to challenge Apple’s dominance in near- to mid-term. Apple will likely benefit from the upcoming Apple Watch with a growing and premium iPhone user-base in this highly advanced consumer market.
In Korea, Apple captured a record one-third of the total smartphone sales in November, first time ever challenging rival Samsung’s strong foothold in its home market.
Commenting on Apple’s performance in Korea, Counterpoint’s Research Director based in Korea, Tom Kang notes, “No foreign brand has gone beyond the 20% market share mark in the history of Korea’s smartphone industry. It has always been dominated by the global smartphone leader, Samsung. But iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have made a difference here, denting the competition’s phablet sales. Korea being the world’s highest penetrated phablet market (handsets with 5” above screens) earnestly needed a large screen iPhone for quite a time and now this thirst has been quenched. If there was a better supply of iPhone 6 & 6 Plus 64GB & 128GB models (popular SKUs*) during the month then Apple’s share could have climbed to the 40% level.”
In China, iPhone sales reached a record monthly high volumes, growing more than 45% annually in November, as rich urban Chinese consumers quickly warmed to the bigger iPhone form-factors.
Counterpoint’s Research Director Neil Shah, commenting on Apple’s record performance in China notes, “This has helped propel Apple’s smartphone market share to above 12%, capturing third spot behind Lenovo and the market leader Xiaomi. iPhone 6 was the most popular iPhone model during November accounting for more than two-thirds of the total iPhone sales. However, with improving supply of iPhone 6 Plus we believe the iPhone 6 Plus sales will contribute to a greater proportion of the sales mix in December and during the Chinese holiday season in Q1 2015. Apple with iPhone 6 & 6 Plus has been able to impact Samsung’s premium Galaxy S5 & Note 4 sales. But with launch of Xiaomi Note & Note Pro it is going to be a fierce battle in the premium segment, with Samsung being attacked from both ends”.
In other important markets such as the USA, iPhone demand remained relatively healthy compared to last year whereas in fast growing smartphone market India, Apple is on track to sell almost a million units for the last three months of 2014. Counterpoint Research estimates, Apple’s iPhone 6 & 6 Plus momentum will continue into December and help Apple register its best ever iPhone quarter.
Research Director Peter Richardson highlights Apple’s iPhone strategy,”By launching iPhone 6 Plus, Apple killed two birds with one stone – firstly, jumping into the fast growing phablet segment and recapturing the share lost to Samsung’s popular Note series in the premium smartphone category. Secondly, offsetting the lackluster demand for iPads and targeting users looking for a single device and thus in turn recognizing even greater contribution to the top-line and bottom-line from the iPhone 6 Plus than it would have been able to generate from the iPad mini.
*Numbers from the Counterpoint Model Sales Tracker Database
1 Smartphone sales only (not shipments). Tablets, PCs, dongles, fixed wireless devices not included. All regional or minor hardware variations included in each model.
Our Monthly Market Pulse market share data is based on sell-out (sales) surveyed at major mass retailers, distributors across different markets (33 countries) by Counterpoint Research team plus sanity checked with demand side surveys & expert Analyst estimates to complete the global monthly sales database.