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The Sensor Revolution

The iPhone 7 Plus Is Easily Outselling Smaller iPhone 7, New Holiday Data Suggests

How important is a great smartphone camera? The dual-lens camera and superior optical zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus seem to be a big draw.

The iPhone 7 Plus Is Easily Outselling Smaller iPhone 7, New Holiday Data Suggests

[Photo: courtesy of Apple]

Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus outsold the smaller iPhone 7 by a good margin during the holidays, according to new data from Slice Intelligence, suggesting that the larger phone's dual-lens camera and far-superior optical zoom may be a big draw for smartphone consumers.

Of all iPhone 7 series phones sold during November and December, roughly 60% were the larger iPhone 7 Plus, while roughly 40% were the smaller iPhone 7. Put another way, for every two iPhone 7's Apple sold, it sold roughly three iPhone 7 Plus devices.

That means people seem to be willing to pay a premium for the better camera. The iPhone 7 Plus starts at $769 for the 32GB version, while the iPhone 7 starts at $649 for the same amount of storage memory. Consumers may have been lured to the more expensive phone because the two cameras on the back of the phone produce demonstrably better photos, especially in low-light situations.

The Slice Intelligence data shows large spikes in sales of the iPhone 7 Plus on Black Friday and Cyber Monday a few days later.

Regular vs. Plus

Overall, Slice says, revenues from iPhone sales in November and December 2016 were up 66.9% from the same period last year. Looking at holiday sales of all available iPhone models, the iPhone 7 series phones accounted for most of the sales.

iPhone distribution

This further suggests that the dual-lens camera caused many buyers (or gift-givers) to opt for the iPhone 7 Plus. And that could be a very promising development for Apple, because the company could really use a killer feature to boost iPhone sales.

The iPhone 6S series sold less than Apple expected, leading to 2016 sales that, for the first time, failed to surpass sales in the previous year. The smaller iPhone 7 model was seen by some as only a marginal improvement from the 2015’s iPhone 6S.

The Plus model’s dual-camera, however, is something entirely new. And that dual-lens camera is likely to show up in at least one other iPhone model later this year—probably one with a five-inch screen.

Apple released both phones in September, in time for the holiday season. iPhones are the most gifted of all phone brands during the holidays.

The iPhone 7 Plus is more expensive because of its larger display, expanded memory, and dual-lens camera, and the profit margin on sales of the phone is also higher than that for the smaller iPhone 7, analysts say.

Slice Intelligence based its findings on sales data from 50,000 online iPhone purchases by U.S. consumers during November and December. To know the exact unit sales of the phones, we'll have to wait until Apple releases its quarterly sales numbers when it announces earnings on January 31.

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