Apple blogger calls BS on IDC’s iPhone unit sales estimate

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“IDC isn’t close with their iPhone unit sales estimate for the quarter that Apple just reported.” — Neil Cybart, Above Avalon


From IDC’s Smartphone Shipments Experience Deeper Decline, posted Tuesday:

Apple had a challenging first quarter as shipments dropped to 36.4 million units representing a staggering 30.2% decline from last year. The iPhone struggled to win over consumers in most major markets as competitors continue to eat away at Apple’s market share. Price cuts in China throughout the quarter along with favorable trade-in deals in many markets were still not enough to encourage consumers to upgrade. Combine this with the fact that most competitors will shortly launch 5G phones and new foldable devices, the iPhone could face a difficult remainder of the year. Despite the lackluster quarter, Apple’s strong installed base along with its recent agreement with Qualcomm will be viewed as the light at the end of the tunnel heading into 2020 for the Cupertino-based giant.

Cybart IDC iPhone BS

From Niel Cybart’s Twitter feed:

IDC isn’t close with their iPhone unit sales estimate for the quarter that Apple just reported. Apple sold way more than 36M iPhones. Plug 36M into an earnings model & you will find out that number is impossible to achieve given Apple’s stated iPhone revenue. Embarrassing for IDC.

Okay. I’ll bite…

  • iPhone revenue fiscal Q2 (via Apple): $31.052 billion
  • IDC’s unit sales estimate: 36.4 million
  • IDC’s implied ASP (average selling price): $853

Cue Statista’s historical ASP chart:

cybart iPhone IDC BS

Back to Cybart:

This continues the trend of industry research firms running with highly inaccurate estimates for Apple product shipments. The methodologies / processes used to derive these estimates aren’t good. One has to assume the shipment estimates for other companies are off just as bad.

Up to last year, Apple was the only company that would disclose unit sales. Many research firms waited until Apple reported earnings (and unit sales data) before publishing their industry shipment reports and numbers. Now we know why.

My take: Given the rebates, price cuts and the popularity of the iPhone XR, we can be pretty sure iPhone ASPs declined last quarter. By how much? Your estimate is as good as mine. It can’t be worse that IDC’s.