How is the iPhone X selling?

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iPhone boot up
The iPhone X isn't a dud, but it also it's Apple's top seller.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The iPhone 8 is Apple’s best-selling model, and the larger 8 Plus is in second place. The controversial iPhone X is currently Apple’s third best-selling model, according to a market analysis firm.

Apple’s older models make up 40 percent of the company sales, a higher percentage than last year.

iPhone X not doing great, not doing badly

According to a Consumer Intelligence Research Partners report (pdf), 16 percent of Apple smartphones sold in the first three months of this year were iPhone X models. In the previous quarter, when this device first launched, it was 20 percent.

Its share is unlikely to drop much below 16 percent in the current quarter, however. “This first calendar quarter typically represents baseline demand for iPhones, after the initial launch surge and before any slowdown as buyers begin to anticipate new models,” said Josh Lowitz, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder.

The iPhone 8 accounted for 23 percent of all Apples phone sales in the January-to-March period. The  iPhone 8 Plus was close behind at 21 percent.

Older iPhones going strong

The tenth-anniversary iPhone has been pummeled by some analysts. They claim it’s selling very poorly, and use that as a sign that Apple’s lost its touch.

While that’s a prediction that’s clearly overstated, there’s some justification. Apple’s 2017 models altogether made up 60 percent of the iPhones sold in Q1. In the same quarter of 2017, the newest iPhones available at that time were about 68 percent of sales.

iPhone X sales Q1 2018
Consumer Intelligence Research Partners shows how well the various iPhone models are selling.
Photo: CIRP

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus together were almost 20 percent of Apple’s sales at the beginning of this year. And the aging iPhone 6S and 6S Plus had 13 percent of the company’s sales. Even the elderly iPhone SE was at 8 percent.

“With eight models available, and the newest ones costing close to $1,000, consumers appear to want older, cheaper models that have many of the same features,” said CIRP’s Lowitz.

The fix is in

Apple problem is self-inflicted. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are just marginal improvements over their predecessors, so many customers are choosing to buy the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus instead.

The iPhone X is loaded with new features, including a nearly edge-to-edge display that users love, but sales are being held down by the $999 price.

The solution the company is reportedly working on for this fall is to introduce models based on the iPhone X, but at lower prices. If this really is Apple’s plan, then 2018 should see a surge of sales, as some analysts predict.