iPhone XR won't just buoy holiday quarter, but the beginning of 2019 as well

in iPhone edited October 2018
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is seeing better pre-order demand for the iPhone XR than the iPhone 8, with the analyst noting that other supply chain and retail monitors may be misinterpreting consumer behaviors.

In a note seen by AppleInsider on Monday morning, Ming-Chi Kuo from TF Securities has poked holes in other analysts' predictions of iPhone XR demand, based on lead times from Apple.

iPhone XS customers are "Apple fans" according to the analyst, who are expected to buy a new flagship model immediately. As such, comparing sell-outs of the iPhone XS and resultant shipment delays isn't a direct parallel to the iPhone XR customer base.

"XR target customers are general users who are used to operating iOS," writes Kuo. "Although the demands of XR is lower than XS after the initial pre-order/sale, the overall XR shipment momentum is more stable because of XR's better replacement demand than that of iPhone 8 series last year."

iPhone XR demand versus iPhone XS

Kuo also notes that these general users typically buy from carriers, meaning that relying on Apple's shipment delays, or the lack thereof, is fraught with peril. Carriers have also executed promotions on the iPhone XR, where Apple had no such deal for customers that bought straight from the company. And. those carriers at present are seeing up to two-week delays in shipments as a result of sales volumes.

Monday's report is a repeat of Kuo's previous assessment of the situation, with more detail gathered from his normal sources following the iPhone XR launch.

Three early analyst reports were concerned about pre-order volumes, but all but one lacked context and a key data point -- how many phones Apple had available for order. The first, by DigiTimes suggested that suppliers were concerned about greater-than-normal seasonal cut-backs in component orders.

Kuo's report directly references Gene Munster's from Friday. Munster tracked pre-order shipment slips, as he generally does, and noted that the iPhone XR was readily available from Apple in all makes and models well after launch.

"As of noon ET, you can still order a[n] XR and have it delivered on October 26," the Munster noted in that report. Munster also pointed out that the inferring demand based on delivery times slipping has some risks, as there is no way of knowing how many units Apple produced in total, or by model.

On Monday, Jun Zhang criticized what he predicted as "less than or equal to 12 million units," based on a one-week wait time in China and no wait time in other major markets. After just one day of preorders, Zhang believes the initial sales of the iPhone XR are weaker than previous expectations, with 12 million units thought to be shipped to retail channels before October 26. Shipment estimates for the iPhone XR are also down overall for the second half of the year, reducing from 50 million units to 46 million.


  • Reply 1 of 8
    I agree with Ming that iPhone XS is for people who want the best iPhone, period. It is also for people who want you to know they own the XS & not the X. This isn’t a ding on those sort of folks. Plus 512GB is only on XS & XS Max.
  • Reply 2 of 8
    Plus in emerging markets like South East Asia ,Europe  & also China ,where the Xr is mainly aimed at it is essentially a $1000 iPhone thanks to protectionist policies.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    Finally! An analyst who knows how to think.
  • Reply 4 of 8
    Ming's record is spotty at best.  He was the one predicting $600 - $700 for the XR, the XS at $800 - $900, and the XS Max at under $1K.  He missed even the high end on every one of them.

    I think his underlying analysis is correct and the XS will sell well during its first quarter and then taper off quickly while the XR will maintain more of a steady demand through the life cycle.  However, any predictor of actual demand is pure self-serving speculation based on a few data points.  His reliability has gone down a lot in the past two or three years as he seems to issue conflicting analysis reports every couple of weeks.  I'll wait to see what the trend is when Apple releases actual Q1 results in February and see how ASP, profit, and total units sold compare to the past Q1 activity from the prior four years.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    How is he seeing this? I doubt Apple is sharing pre-order sales data with him.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,266member
    They are all just making their best guess (except for Jun Zheng, he’s just trying to short AAPL}. Without exception, every single one of these analysts did not think the iPhone X would sell well, yet it turned out to be the number one selling phone, not just iPhone, worldwide every single week it was available.

    This year is different, since the two iPhone models are much more similar than different (compared to the revolutionary iPhone X and iPhone 8 last year). For this quarter, the iPhone XS line had a big head start, so I’m confident it will continue the X’s run as the most popular iPhone, if not just smartphone, in the world for the Christmas quarter and maybe beyond. The iPhone XR will be proclaimed a flop like the 5c was, even though it will likely be the second or third most-popular smartphone worldwide, just as the 5c was.
    edited October 2018 gilly33radarthekat
  • Reply 7 of 8
    gilly33gilly33 Posts: 237member
    It’s interesting he’s optimistic. Forbes is running an article ‘Apple’s newest iPhone has a serious problem’ of course spewing the usual gloom and doom for the latest handset. Of course their source is ‘respected’ analyst Gene Munster. So will be interesting to see what the report is next quarter. Analysts and their predictions just make me laugh. Although unlike many of you in this forum I’m no ‘expert’ on any of this stuff. But Forbes articles seem mostly to negative I’ve noticed. Just my two cents. 
  • Reply 8 of 8
    gilly33 said:
    It’s interesting he’s optimistic. Forbes is running an article ‘Apple’s newest iPhone has a serious problem’ of course spewing the usual gloom and doom for the latest handset.
    Only a matter of time before the Macalope and DED take it down!
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