CIRP: Apple sold 62 million iPhones last quarter

The Street’s estimate was higher. But who’s counting?

From “iPhone US Installed Base Ticks Up Slightly,” released Thursday by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners:

CIRP analysis indicates the iPhone US installed base reached 189 million units as of December 30, 2018, compared to 185 million units at the end of the September 2018 quarter and 166 million units at the end of the December 2017 quarter (Chart 1). CIRP bases this estimate on an estimated global sales of 62 million iPhones, which is in turn derived from an estimated Average Selling Price (ASP) of $839 and Apple, Inc. disclosed iPhone revenues.

CIRP 62 million iphones

“As Apple noted, to the frustration of investors and other observers, it no longer discloses iPhone unit sales,” said Mike Levin, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP. “Consequently, we use our weighted average retail price for the US, called US-WARP, as a close approximation of ASP. Based on an estimated ASP of $839, and Apple’s disclosed iPhone revenues of about $52 billion, we estimate Apple sold approximately 62 million iPhones, of all models and storage capacities, globally in the quarter. We then translate this estimate of global unit sales into our estimate of US unit sales and its implications for the US installed base.

METHODOLOGY:  CIRP bases its findings on its survey of 500 US Apple customers, surveyed from December 31, 2018 – January 10, 2019 that purchased an iPhone, iPad, or Mac in the US in October-December 2018 period.

My take: I don’t care about iPhone unit sales. Not anymore. But if I did, I would point out that CIRP’s 62 million is a few million shy of the Street’s consensus of 65 million, per Visible Alpha.


  1. Turley Muller said:
    Nope. ASP is way too high. Apple said there would be ASP headwinds due to X shipping in 1Q18 vs XS Max shipping in 4Q18 and XR in 1Q19 vs IP8 in 4Q18. Other than China (and low upgrades) currency and ASP detracted from growth they said. ASPs would have been lower. Probably high 700’s but not above 800. So their unit estimate is way low with that redicolous high ASP.

    February 7, 2019
  2. Aaron Belich said:
    Unit sales means nothing with knowing whether those are new users or existing users replacing older phones.

    Also, who recalls the last time we talked CIRP’s numbers? Sampling size and margin of error would allow such a low deviation from the noted consensus.

    February 7, 2019
  3. Fred Stein said:
    With a 10 day sample of 500 US customers, CIRP projects a full quarter of global iPhone sales.

    February 7, 2019
    • Turley Muller said:
      Exactly Frank. CIRP Is taking a very short sample period JUST in the US. Not representative. CIRP is taking Apple’s iPhone revenue number they reported and dividing it by its survey ASP. Aside from the geographical shortfalls, CIRP is using a sell-through ASP number against a shipment revenue number. TC & LM alluded to all the channel fill in Q4 for the high end phones. Thus, the Q1 revenue number overwhelmingly reflects the initial sales and channel fill of the low end (XR) models.

      CIRP can’t make that leap- comparing apples to oranges. I take issue with it because they throw out some unit number that implies demand fell off a cliff- units down 20%. When the reality other than China, units were likely down mid to low single digits. Apple probably sold just under 70M. That’s higher than the Street consensus, but that’s likely weighted down from some estimates suffering from the same erroneous ASP assumption.

      The good news is that Apple should have ASP tailwinds for the remainder of the FY.

      February 7, 2019
  4. Gregg Thurman said:
    Could we spend more time discussing elements of Services vs continuing to dwell on articles about iPhone units?

    Case in point: Australia’s largest bank just added support for Apple Pay. In two weeks 500,000 iPhone users signed up increasing mobile pay accounts 50%.

    My daughter wanted me to buy an item for sale here in Spokane costing $5000. She transferred the money to my account allowing me to buy it using my debit card. It was so much faster than mailing a check (even overnight) and waiting for the funds to clear.

    How long before Apple Pay becomes a pseudo debit card and what does that mean to the cc/banking industry and Apple’s bottom line?

    February 7, 2019
    • Alan Birnbaum said:
      Especially since TARGET caved !

      February 7, 2019
      • Gregg Thurman said:
        Visa annual revenue for C2016 increased 8.66% YoY
        Visa annual revenue for C2017 increased 21.72% YoY
        Visa annual revenue for C2018 increased 12.26% YoY

        Average annual growth rate 14.21%

        MasterCard annual revenue for C2016 increased 11.40% YoY
        MasterCard annual revenue for C2017 increased 15.97% YoY
        MasterCard annual revenue for C2018 increased 19.63% YoY

        Average annual growth rate 15.67%

        Now, this also includes credit card interest (Merchant fees are charged on all transactions). Total combined annual revenue from VISA and MasterCard for C2018 was $35.56 Billion.

        What happens when Apple Pay becomes a service that competes with VISA, MasterCard et al instead of piggybacking their service?

        Apple Pay fees become 2.0% to 2.5% (undercutting VISA and MasterCard by about a third) vs current 0.0015%. Issuing banks would continue to get a 0.50% cut leaving Apple with 1.50% to 2.00% vs 0.0015% it gets today with nearly no costs other than maintaining the system.

        1.5% cut of $35 Billion annually is $525 Million. Of course, that calculation is based on a 100% market share.

        February 7, 2019
      • Gregg Thurman said:
        Especially since TARGET caved!

        How many more will cave when their merchant fees drop about 33% from what they average now?

        Android will have a very difficult time competing in this arena as each manufacturer will want to participate in the revenue stream by sponsoring their own mobile payment system.

        February 7, 2019
    • Turley Muller said:
      Gonna be a minute for it makes a financial impact. 15 cents for every 100 dollars of gross purchase volume.— on top on a almost 300B annual revenue company. But at his stage, that’s not important.

      The fact is – Apple Pay continues to gain traction. That little consortium of the MCX or whatever when up in smoke. Every competing offering has proved to be meaningless. While volumes are low, they are rapidly growing. Apple is in the driver’s seat on this.

      It’s important because the day is coming when everything is digital. Where iCloud becomes a necessity like wireless service. All our transactions and information will be digital. Who will provide robust solutions that seemlessly integrate with your decices and can trust to safeguard your privacy?

      February 7, 2019
  5. Gregg Thurman said:
    Furthering my thoughts on the importance of Apple Pay.

    This from Patently Apple:

    In today’s Project Titan patent, Apple describes how a vehicle’s biometric security system could be used in connection to making purchases at a gas or energy station and more.

    In the future, you’ll be able to pull up to a fast food drive through, put in your order while your vehicle and or Apple Pay system is making the payment for the food so that you could grab your food and go without having to make payment at the drive-in window.

    Will those payments be made by an Apple Pay not dependent on VISA, MasterCard or other debit/credit card?

    The next 3 years should be very interesting.

    February 7, 2019

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