In the run-up to the iPhone X launch, all the analyst chatter revolved around one topic: How big of a success the iPhone X would be. It was always a given that Apple’s big upgrade would sell; the only question was whether it would sell a “normal” amount of iPhones, generating two swimming pools of money for Apple, or whether it would spark a “supercycle” of upgrades beyond the usual, giving Apple a mid-sized lake of profit.
Although we won’t have any conclusive answers until Apple releases its Q4 earnings data, a new set of insights from CIRP, which measures new device activations, suggests that the iPhone X has been a runaway success for Apple.
According to CIRP’s data, US iPhone activations were up 10 percent in the last quarter of the year, from 29% of all phone activations to 39%. That isn’t unusual — Apple released three new phones in that time period — but the change in new activations year-on-year is particularly significant. Over the same period in 2016, Apple’s market share was at 34%, meaning that it finished 2017 with a full 5% better market share. All of that can be attributed to the iPhone 8 and iPhone X launch.
It also means that Apple is pulling ahead of Samsung in new device activations. Samsung is currently sitting at 32% to Apple’s 39%, with LG in third place at 13%, and all other brands chipping in 15%. Since Apple’s average selling price for a phone (and profit!) is well above all comparable manufacturers, the combination of high profit and high market share means Apple captures the lion’s share of mobile profit in the US. That situation only seems to be getting better for the company.
“In the first full quarter after the launch of its three new models, Apple grew its share relative to Android brands,” CIRP partner Josh Lowitz said in a note seen by 9to5Mac. “If we compare change in share from the September quarter to the December quarter in this year and last year, Apple clearly improved its market position. It gained ten percentage points from the September to the December quarter both years, but as it had a better September quarter in 2017 than in 2016, this resulted in an overall stronger December quarter.”