Increased store traffic, promotions, shortages, and more; five takeaways from the iPhone 13 launch

The iPhone 13 is finally here, just one week after Apple announced the next generation iPhones in its digital only launch event. Pre-orders leading up to the launch seemed strong, especially due to carrier deals and promotions. We hit the streets to get a firsthand look at what the latest launch event can tell us about the demand for these latest iPhones. Here are five key takeaways:

  • Store traffic is up again in Apple Stores. 2020 was a tough launch year for Apple and the iPhone 12. The launch was staggered over two months, and COVID-19 restrictions made going into stores less appealing. This year however, we have seen people line up again to pick-up orders or reserve an iPhone for a later time. It’s not like the massive lines for the iPhone 6 or iPhone 7 launch events, but it’s still showing a return to brick-and-mortar to an extent. Online sales remain a key driver for Apple however.

Apple Store on Boylston Street iPhone 13 Launch

  • Pre-order deals are strong this year. All carriers are offering up to $1000 for the iPhone 13 Pro models with trade-ins and select unlimited plans, while the iPhone 13 models have promotions for $800 with in credit. Verizon was the most aggressive however, offering an extra $500 Prepaid Mastercard for those who switch to its network for the iPhone 13 Pro model. Apple’s own trade-in value offers topped off at $790.

iPhone 13 Line Up

  • Demand for iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max were higher than the regular iPhone 13. This is not unusual, especially for the launch day. Power users and those on Apple’s yearly iPhone Upgrade Program tend to upgrade first, getting both the best performing iPhones, and also going for higher memory configurations such as the 1TB option.

Counterpoint Research: iPhone upgrade program

  • Apple Stores, as well as carrier stores, are already short on inventory. Shipment dates continue to be pushed out. This is especially true due to the high demand for the iPhone 13 Pro Max which is estimating being shipped between October 25th and November 1st. Certain colors, such as gold or pink, seem to be lean on inventory as well. Apple continues to limit shipments to carriers during launch periods as it wants to drive customers to its own stores, which creates additional shortages for carriers.

Counterpoint Research: iPhone 13 Availability by Channel

  • A minority of people are coming in for the iPhone 12 at this time. But this may change. Since the launch of the iPhone 13, the iPhone 12 received a $100 haircut. This is enticing some customers looking to upgrade to a 5G iPhone without needing to spend more money on the iPhone 13. While the iPhone 13 does have a longer battery, and additional camera, it may not be enough to convince some. We will likely see more people going with the iPhone 12 after this launch period as carriers move to update their “N -1” iPhone slot.

iPhone 12 Apple Store

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Maurice Klaehne is a Senior Analyst with Counterpoint Technology Market Research, based out of Boston, USA. He has spent more than five years working as a market researcher and strategy consultant heavily focused on emerging markets and uncovering new growth opportunities for his clients which include business service, CPG, healthcare, and life science companies. Maurice holds a Master’s in International Development and Management from Sweden’s Lund University, and an undergraduate degree in Political Science and International Development from Canada’s McGill University. He is a native German speaker and also speaks fluent French.

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