How Apple’s Launch Strategy Makes Your iPhone More Expensive

Apple’s release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus felt like its biggest launch in years. But just how big was it — and how does its launch strategy mean you potentially end up paying more for your phone?

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Finance app Pocketbook analysed purchases of Apple devices from its customer base to identify trends in iPhone sales in Australia. (Pocketbook has around 100,000 customers, but only used anonymised data from 21,000 for this research.)

The big takeaway is that iPhone sales are hugely biased towards the final quarter of the year — the period between when a new phone is typically launched and Christmas. Pocketbook calculates that 63 per cent of Apple’s sales from its stores were during that period. Sales from Apple stores by Pocketbook customers went up 187 per cent in September compared to August. As Pocketbook’s Andrianes Pinantoan points out:

That means 2/3 of its revenue is generated in 1/3 of the year. At its peak in the month of December, total purchases of Apple products are 5x more than any month between January and August.

Notably, Apple does this without reducing prices. The average spend by customers in 2014 this year was up by $130 on 2013 — a gap that closely reflects the price premium for the newer iPhone 6 models.

Clearly consumers are happy to buy Apple’s phones, but the race to buy them as close as possible for launch also means you’re going to pay full retail price. Online stores with discounted offers typically don’t get a lot of stock until after that September-Christmas sales period. If you’re prepared to be patient, you’re likely to score your phone for less (though iPhone prices typically don’t fall as much as other brands). As ever, we’d advise skipping the contract and buying outright and using prepaid.

How The iPhone 6 May Not Have Broken Sales Records in Australia [Pocketbook Blog]

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