iPhone 13 stampede halts first-day sales at Chinese Apple Store (video)

From the South China Morning Post’s “iPhone 13 release sparks buying frenzy in China” posted Monday:

Hundreds of people were seen running into a shopping mall in northwestern China’s Shaanxi province to buy the new iPhone.

My take: Nothing like a run on the mall to create a sense of smartphone FOMO. These look to me like honest-to-goodness buyers, not the egg-pelting mobs of grey market middlemen that shut down Apple’s Beijing flagship store in advance of the iPhone 4S.

17 Comments

  1. Jerry Doyle said:
    That video scene is worth millions in advertising dollars. I suspect the video will create some FOMO in potential Apple consumers wondering if they should upgrade as well as Android folk wondering what it is in the iOS eco-system that creates such hysteria within Apple iPhone users.

    6
    September 27, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Ka-Ching. FQ4, followed by Q1/FY2022 is going to make a lot of people very happy (as long as WS doesn’t piss on AAPL investor’s parade).

      2
      September 27, 2021
    • Fred Stein said:
      Yup, Jerry. This is just phase one of FOMO. Next is when this mob shows off their iPhones to friends. Then holiday shopping, plus in China (and Chinese communities world wide), new years in Feb.

      And, we’re still in FY 2021.

      1
      September 27, 2021
  2. Jeff Galanti said:
    While normally these videos are great for Apple, they are probably a liability in the current environment in China. Xi is making it crystal clear that he (and the CCP) are firmly in control and not interested in “partnering”. While we can all analyze from our chairs and say that they would be foolish to kill or maim some of these golden geese, they have already significantly clipped a number of Chinese companies, almost to make a point. Tim Cook has been brilliant at navigating the friction points between China and the US but has to be braced for some massive headwinds, without warning, at any point.

    7
    September 27, 2021
    • Horace Dediu said:
      A liability. An empty store is thus an asset? The greatest asset would be no store at all. Microsoft must be proud.

      6
      September 27, 2021
      • Jeff Galanti said:
        Obviously, I am not saying that empty stores would be good. But, anything that brings world attention to our success there increase the likelihood of Xi bringing out the whack-a-mole mallet. Think of Jack Ma and the Ant Financial IPO.

        I want to have as much success there as anyone else on this site. I’d prefer to do it quietly!

        0
        September 27, 2021
  3. Fred Stein said:
    Consider all the self-proclaimed pundits who said this was just incremental.

    One of the best investors in the world, Warren Buffett said he takes the subway to work because he learns so much from watching real people. (He also said the subway is faster than the limo in rush-hour Manhattan.)

    3
    September 27, 2021
  4. Fred Stein said:
    One ore snipe at the ‘incremental’ complainers. About 1/2 of last year’s shoppers bought the top-end models (my guess), or only about 12.5% of the entire IB.

    For 87% of the IB, these new iPhones are a BIG step up.

    1
    September 27, 2021
  5. Gregg Thurman said:
    IMO, the biggest thing WS is missing in their collective analysis is that the iPhone is a mobile computer with much, much better battery life than a laptop.

    When you add 5G connectivity you now have a computer with connection speeds greater than WiFi and it’s going to be everywhere, not just at various shops (each requiring a password), and it’s going to get faster over the next couple of years. Where I used to sign on to WiFi when out on the town I now use 5G (iPad Pro). 5G is faster and more convenient, to the point that I turn off WiFi when on the road to stop those annoying popups announcing the availability of this WiFi network or that.

    That is what interests me in the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

    2
    September 27, 2021
  6. Bart Yee said:
    Here is another video released by SCMP shot on Sept 24 release day at the Apple Beijing Store. It too includes some “incremental” review commentary but it’s one Chinese user interview put it succinctly:

    “Apple will always be Apple. It’s different from other brands and I think if it makes big changes to its products, then that’s not necessarily a good thing. All good designs feel as if they’re all part of the same family. It means that the new products will continue to make upgrades based on the best features of earlier ones. It still has to have that traditional feel to it but with additional new features. That’s how I think it is. If it’s too different I probably wouldn’t buy it.”

    Apple has many different user bases. Users who love what they have because it REALLY works well for them now so familiarity and comfort is paramount in an upgrade – less learning curve. Also users who crave the excitement of massive upgrades compared to what they have – coming from a 3-6 year old iPhone, that is what they will get. Considering worldwide sales of iPhones, the need for completely new designs is relatively small, ie foldables. But perhaps eventually. Apple designs for real users, not marketers.

    As some have pointed out here before, Apple is much more Porsche than anything else. Consider the entire Porsche lineup over the past 70+ years. The 911 is 50 y/o, the Boxster was all new yet is now 25 y/o, the sister Cayman is now 16. The Cayenne was a radical departure yet saved the company and unlocked a completely new Porsche market. The Panamera expanded that market and now the Macan is their best selling model hands down. The 918 Hybrid and now all electric Taycan shows Porsche’s electric future. All Porsches look different from other brands yet have recognizable family DNA with intentional design cues from the 911. That is why Porsche says “Bold. Confident. Classic.”

    So it has been with Apple, they decided on classic design and now they are copied worldwide. Apple doesn’t change for change sake, their installed base looks for upgrades, not necessarily radical departures. If and when Apple introduces a new product or design, it will have Apple DNA built right in.

    https://www.scmp.com/video/china/3150018/china-iphone-13-launch-draws-crowds-phone-fans-eye-apples-new-handsets

    2
    September 27, 2021
    • Bart, the Honda CR-V had very few changes over many years yet remains a bestselling automobile.

      0
      September 28, 2021
  7. Darren DMW said:
    And only days ago people were worried that iPhone sales in China decreased in August.

    As Dan Ives says, ignore the noise.

    1
    September 27, 2021
  8. Darren DMW said:
    This is only 1 store in a tier 2 city. Probably happened in more than a few stores all over the country.

    And on top of a reported 5 million online pre sales.

    0
    September 27, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      @Darren There are 43 Apple Stores in mainland China. Considering the massive population in China, it would not be hard to imagine at least 1000’s of people going to each store on an iPhone intro day.

      Each store is open 10-12 hours per day. The iPhone is apparently 8% cheaper due to foreign exchange and other cost savings (much less transport and shipping costs?), and availability just might be better since Foxconn’s assembly and warehousing points are only hours away by rail, truck or air.

      If Apple and/or local Chinese carriers are offering anything even remotely close to US telecoms incentives and trade ins, Chinese users with iPhone 5S/6/6S/7/8/X/XS models who did not upgrade to the 11 or 12 will be hugely incentivized just like in the US and Europe.

      0
      September 27, 2021
  9. Bart Yee said:
    My comment above is awaiting moderation so I’ll repost the text without a link.

    Here is another video released by SCMP shot on Sept 24 release day at the Apple Beijing Store. It too includes some “incremental” review commentary but it’s one Chinese user interview put it succinctly:

    “Apple will always be Apple. It’s different from other brands and I think if it makes big changes to its products, then that’s not necessarily a good thing. All good designs feel as if they’re all part of the same family. It means that the new products will continue to make upgrades based on the best features of earlier ones. It still has to have that traditional feel to it but with additional new features. That’s how I think it is. If it’s too different I probably wouldn’t buy it.” Amazing but not surprising how this Chinese user “got it”.

    Apple has many different user bases. Users who love what they have because it REALLY works well for them now so familiarity and comfort is paramount in an upgrade – less learning curve. Also users who crave the excitement of massive upgrades compared to what they have – coming from a 3-6 year old iPhone, that is what they will get. Considering worldwide sales of iPhones, the need for completely new designs is relatively small, ie foldables. But perhaps eventually. Apple designs for real users, not marketers.

    As some have pointed out here before, Apple is much more Porsche than anything else. Consider the entire Porsche lineup over the past 70+ years. The 911 is 50 y/o, the Boxster was all new yet is now 25 y/o, the sister Cayman is now 16. All instantly recognizable. The Cayenne was a radical departure yet saved the company and unlocked a completely new Porsche market. The Panamera expanded that market and now the Macan is their best selling model hands down. The 918 Hybrid and now all electric Taycan shows Porsche’s electric future. All these Porsches look different from other brands yet have recognizable family DNA with intentional design cues from the 911. That is why Porsche says “Bold. Confident. Classic.”

    So it has been with Apple, they decided on classic design and now they are copied worldwide. Apple doesn’t change for change sake, their installed base looks for upgrades, not necessarily radical departures. If and when Apple introduces a new product or design, it will have Apple DNA built right in.

    2
    September 27, 2021
    • Jerry Doyle said:
      @Bart Yee: Excellent commentary Bart. PED, could you release for us that link of which Bart denoted. I like to listen to the young man’s comments on Apple’s design.

      1
      September 27, 2021

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