iPhone X Drove Apple’s “Revenue Super Cycle”

Cumulative shipments for iPhone X reached 63 Million units by end of Aug 2018 lower than iPhone 6 for similar period since launch but on track to be the most successful revenue and profit generating iPhone ever.

According to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service, iPhone X has helped Apple to achieve a revenue super-cycle instead of a volume super-cycle. A phenomenon we predicted here. Cumulative shipments of iPhone X reached 63 million units within ten months of its launch ending August 2018. By comparison, during the iPhone 6 Super Cycle, Apple took only six months to achieve similar volume, post 2014 launch. iPhone 6 shipped 30 million more units than iPhone X during its first 10 months of sales, so iPhone X missed the “volume Super Cycle”.

Exhibit 1: iPhone X missed the iPhone 6 level “Volume Super Cycle”

iPhone X missed the iPhone 6 level “Volume Super Cycle”

However, iPhone X which drove a completely radical new design language helped Apple to command a significantly higher Average Selling Price (ASP) at a point when the overall smartphone market was beginning to saturate.  So, while the fabled volume super-cycle has not materialized, Apple has actually delivered a revenue super-cycle, posting record iPhone revenues and Average Selling Prices (ASPs) since the iPhone X launch. Both iPhone 6 and iPhone X generated almost similar revenues of USD 62 Billion across a similar period (first 10 months). iPhone X is therefore also a factor in Apple becoming the first trillion-dollar company.

Exhibit 2: iPhone X Road to “Revenue Super Cycle”

iPhone X Road to “Revenue Super Cycle”


The iPhone X has been well received in the US market with demand reaching an all-time high during the initial months of launch. It was even the #1 best selling model in many developed markets for the initial couple of quarters. However, demand in China only picked-up later, after the New Year, thanks to promotions and offers. Demand for the expensive iPhone X was modest in most of the emerging markets where older-generation iPhones remain popular. iPhone X shipments have been skewed towards traditionally stronger iPhone markets like USA, Japan, China, which contributed to almost two-thirds of the total iPhone X shipments.

In our consumer survey at the launch of iPhone X, Chinese iPhone users expressed strong purchase intentions towards the iPhone X (see here), but low among Android users. However, in markets outside China, iPhone X did well despite the high price-tag, remaining popular across developed markets like the USA, Japan and parts of Western Europe. So while iPhone X didn’t help Apple to substantially grow its user base, it handsomely contributed to both the top and bottom line, and Apple’s market cap. It is therefore hard to deem iPhone X a failure.

Exhibit 3: Cumulative iPhone X Shipments by Top 10 Countries Aug ‘18

Cumulative iPhone X Shipments by Top 10 Countries Aug ‘18



  • It took iPhone X ten months to cross 60 million shipments but iPhone 6 was the fastest model so far to achieve the same feat in six months from launch.
  • However, both the models generated almost similar revenues during the first ten months after launch and iPhone X on track to surpass iPhone 6 in terms of revenues if we account for remaining months of shipments if any.
  • For Apple, iPhone X contributed to almost one third of the total iPhone shipments and half of total iPhone revenues since launch.
  • USA and China alone contributed to more than half of the total iPhone X shipments.
  • None of the countries from MEA or LATAM figured among top 10 for iPhone X shipments.
  • India contributed to just 1% of the total iPhone X shipments so far.
  • This shows in these large volumes’ emerging markets, Apple needs to recheck its strategy if it wants to grow its user base or top line.
  • Revenue of iPhone X alone was higher than each of the top five smartphone brands except Samsung in the past ten months. The brands were Huawei, OPPO, Vivo and Xiaomi.
  • Going forward, we expect Apple to command even higher average selling price (ASP) with the rumoured three new iPhone launches this time.
  • With the introduction of a cheaper LCD model and higher-priced OLED models, the iPhone mix for Apple is likely to drive even more revenue as it enters a refreshed product cycle.

The comprehensive and in-depth Aug 2018 Market Monitor is available for subscribing clients. Please feel free to contact us at press(at)counterpointresearch.com for further questions regarding our in-depth latest research, insights or press enquiries.

The Market Monitor research is based on sell-in (shipments) estimates based on vendor’s IR results, vendor polling triangulated with sell-through (sales), supply chain checks and secondary research.


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