For the first time ever, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) sold more than 22 million iPhones in the United States during the fourth calendar quarter of last year. The company grew its sell-through market share from 37% to 44%, according to research firm Counterpoint.
In all, U.S. consumers purchased 51.2 million smartphones in the fourth quarter, and the three best-selling devices were the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X, with the top-of-the-line iPhone X outselling the two iPhone 8 models by two to one.
Counterpoint research director Jeff Fieldhack said:
Apple shipped a record 22 million iPhones for the first time ever in a quarter in USA and is note-able and impressive feat because the Q4 promotional season was not nearly as aggressive as previous years. In addition, upgrade rates are slightly lower year-over-year as smartphone subscribers are holding onto phones longer. Apple was able to grow their sell through 20% in a market that only grew 2% compared to last year. This means Apple has been successful to take share away from Samsung in the premium.
Counterpoint expects iPhone sales to continue strong through 2018. Neil Shah, another Counterpoint research director, said:
[T]he super-premium segment (above $800) has grown from almost 0% in previous years to 25% share of the total smartphones sold in USA during Q4 2017, which speaks volumes for the potential of USA market and the US consumers’ buying power.
The success of the iPhone X, which begins at $999, and 256GB iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus variants will help boost ASPs during the [2018 first calendar] quarter. Over 10.5 [million] iPhones sold in the US during 4Q17 had an ASP above $850 helping Apple register close to US$9 billion from these iPhone sales alone during the quarter. In many other key markets such as China, Chinese OEMs such as Oppo, vivo, and Xiaomi have caused price or sales pressure downwards. However, to date, this has not been the case in the US market where iPhone user base has been growing steadily.
In China, smartphone shipments totaled around 468 million units in 2017. The market share leader in the country was Huawei with a 19% share, followed by Oppo (18%), Vivo (17%), Xiaomi (12%) and Apple (11%). Apple’s best-selling model in China last year was the iPhone 7 Plus, which claimed a market share of 2.8%.
Apple reports fiscal first-quarter earnings after U.S. markets close Thursday. The world’s most valuable company is expected to report sales of around 79 to 80 million iPhones in the quarter, of which one analyst believes 29 million were iPhone Xs.