All the big Apple analysts are predicting iPhone sales decline


iPhone 6s
Ain't that just the way that sales go down, down, down, down.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple has never reported a decline in iPhone sales. That may be about to change, however, with seven top Apple analysts all predicting that the company is either experiencing — or on the verge of experiencing — a drop in the number of iPhones being bought.

The latest is Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who has lowered his iPhone estimates for the first calendar quarter of 2016 from 62.5 million to 55 million. He’s also scaled back his iPhone shipment prediction for the June quarter from 48.5 million to 45 million, as revealed in his most recent note to clients.

In a handy summary by Business Insider, the major analysts’ iPhone forecasts look like this:

Piper Jaffray, Gene Munster:
December: 75 million to 76 million (up 2%)
March: 55 million (down 10%)
Full-year 2016 (not given)

Pacific Crest, Andy Hargreaves and Evan Wingren:
December: 72.7 million (down 2%)
March: 49.5 million (down 20%)
Full-year FY 2016: 213 million (down 8%)

Kulbinder Garcha and his team at Credit Suisse:
December: 76.9 million (up slightly)
March: 51.9 million (down 15%)

Stifel, Aaron Rakers and team:
December: 74.7 million (flat)
March: 56 million (down 8%)

UBS, Steven Milunovich and Peter Christiansen:
December: 75 million (flat)
March: 50 million (down 18%)
Full-year FY 2016: 220 million (down 5%)

Morgan Stanley, Katy Huberty:
December: 74 million (down 0.6%)
March: 52 million (down 15%)
Full-year FY 2016: 218 million (down 6%)

Raymond James, Tavis McCourt and Mike Koban:
Full-year FY 2016: 224 million to 229 million (down 7.2% on the low end)

As you can see, analysts are hardly in total agreement with one another, but this is certainly suggestive that the iPhone train could be starting to slow down. Then again, with the overall stock market down and AAPL stock still taking a battering for a variety of maybe-real-maybe-not reasons, perhaps this will turn out to be as wrong as all the previous Apple doom predictions.

Do you think iPhone sales are about to take a hit? Leave your comments below.

  • nwcs

    Of course at some point they will because the market is near saturation. Their only growth vector is to either re-invent the category with something extraordinary or to take it away from Android’s devices.

    Still, Apple’s big concern is what % of profit are they taking from the industry. A decline in unit sales but still having the majority of profits will no doubt be fine.

    • dcj001

      The market is nowhere near saturation.

      • nwcs

        That depends on how the market is defined. In most developed countries it certainly is. The rest… Well, how much market is there?

  • Hildebrand

    Please add Apple’s own guidance, which have never failed, while analysts fail all the time.

  • Buck Tailor

    They also said Samsung will fail eventually also. The only thing i see that would make iPhone sales decline is people being pissed off that there’s no headphones jack, but they’ll get over it once they see how awesome Apple has embedded listening to audio through the lightning port. They always find a way to evolve technology and please people.

  • 2oh1

    It’s d damn good iPhone, but it’s still an “s” release. I’d bet a lot of us are waiting for the next full version (the 7, obviously). I certainly am.

    • digitaldumdum

      Some people always look for the next full iteration, some always look forward to the next S, or “half” iteration. It’s been no different since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, and it will likely never change. The iPhone has been “damn good” since it was released. Each new version brings features and improvements, often ones no one expected or predicted.

    • Andrey Zhdanyuk

      Seriously. I’ve stopped buying into the whole “s” series b.s. It’s a shame apple still does it. I have 6 iPhones 6 on my line all waiting for that glorious iPhone 7!!!

  • digitaldumdum

    Nah, nothing to it. If even true, it would be the inevitable (and likely short-lived) result of global economy jitters, the usual sky-is-falling predictions of ANALysts (who are looking no further than reduced component orders, rumors at that), and the fact that tens of millions of iPhone 6 models are already in the hands of people who want them. •No• manufacturer can continue to sell record numbers of the same product forever. It’s an unrealistic expectation. Besides, the continued sale of iPhone 6 or 6s has little or nothing to do with the overall health of the tech giant.

  • Esben Deven

    I do expect a decline in sales to happen. My reason is product obsolescence. Phones are meant to be portable, and cell phones took off as the size went down. Then the smartphone came along, and people were told it was a computer in your pocket. Sounds great, except that the continual shrinkage of technology is taking us to the internet of things. In this world, we will need to carry less bulk, but perhaps more devices, each more specialized than a pocket computer. Apply this to the trend of phone sizes increasing, while functionality not increasing. As new tech supplants some of the general purpose functions of the phone, the phone will be able to shrink down to being a phone again, but with that, its functionality will also shrink, and will see longer product upgrade cycles than currently witnessed with smartphones.

    So, as tech moves ahead, the iPhone and other smartphones are looking at their prominent role being eroded away,and with it so will sales be eroded away.

    Add to this market maturity, increasing purchase costs, and diminishing improvements between successive models, and the iPhone has one direction to go – down.

    • digitaldumdum

      It’s a nicely word-smithed response, but it lacks substance or fact. It’s just opinion, as there simply are no data to support your claims. People want what people want, which is usually dictated by what people already •have•, and then re-tooled by the companies who know how to answer those needs and desires. No company is better at looking at trends, and then fulfilling those needs and desires than Apple.

      • Esben Deven

        Of course it is opinion – it is worded as such. Also, I did not say Apple would succeed or fail in this transition. I am not making any prediction on what Apple’s success will be. My views are on the direction technology will move, not who will be leaders in the next generation.

  • Those are the same idiots who said, back in 2007, that Apple was too late on the phone market, which was at a saturation point, and that they would gain 2% of the it, max.

    • digitaldumdum

      They’re also the same ANALysts who claimed the Macintosh was a toy, and would never have significant market share. They’ve been predicting Apple’s total demise for decades. Of course, they get paid for every piece of bad news they drum up, and most get paid for every “buy” and “sell” order they and their stock trader buddies execute. It’s all just noise.