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Analysts: 1.5 Million iPhone 4s Sold on Day One, Many as Upgrades

Did Apple just sell 1.5 million iPhone 4s in the first day of actual sales? You bet they (probably) did. According to several pieces of analysis some three quarters were upgrades too–people have really caught the iPhone bug.

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Did Apple just sell 1.5 million iPhone 4s in the first day of actual sales? You bet they (probably) did. According to several pieces of analysis some three quarters were upgrades too–people have really caught the iPhone bug.

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The 1.5 million figure comes from Yair Reiner of Oppenheimer, who notes that this kind of guessing has “become something of a national sport.” His figures seem solid, though, and the math really isn’t that complex. We know that Apple revealed some 600,000 iPhones had been pre-ordered in the U.S., a figure boosted by 100,000 non-reserved units in Apple stores across the U.S. during yesterday’s first sales. If 50,000 went through the cash registers at Best Buy too, that brings the U.S. sales total to 750,000. Based on the fact that over 50% of iPhones are found overseas nowadays, Reiner then (conservatively) multiplied this figure by two. This gives a guesstimated sales total of 1.5 million units.

Assuming that another 200,000 per day will be sold through retail outlets of all types around the world today and tomorrow, with maybe 50,000 more on Sunday, that gives the first “long weekend” sales total for the iPhone 4 of 1.95 million. Being realistic and slapping a 300,000 error margin on this, that means the figure could be between 1.35 million and 2.25 million. Figures which are, let’s face it, incredible. And even though this is a guess, it’s an extremely plausible one. Apple’s iPhone 4 is widely reported as being the bees knees of smartphone design, the very best product Apple’s achieved yet–despite some hype about what may be a weakness in the design of its antennas.

Remembering that it took Apple over two months to sell the first million editions of the first iPhone, and three days to sell the first million iPhone 3GSs last year, it’s almost incredible. But the other stat Reiner came up with is, if anything, more interesting: According to interviews with buyers, Reiner estimates that just over three quarters of the iPhones were bought as upgrades, with an average ownership time for the previous device as 14.7 months. This figure tallies with the 77% upgrade rate that Gene Munster independently calculated. More than any other statistic, or even opinion piece on the matter, this tells us one thing: Owners of Apple’s iPhones love their devices. A lot. Enough that they will, in droves, rush to hand over hundreds of dollars to buy a new version that’ll offer more iPhone goodness. That kind of brand loyalty is rare.

To keep up with this news, follow me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.

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