Buyers might not be ready for bright iPhone XR colors

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Nearly every configuration of the Apple's latest handset is still available hours into launch day. What does this say about iPhone XR sales?
There are many iPhone XR colors to choose from. But will people buy anything but black?
Photo: Apple

A survey done in some of the largest smartphone markets found that most people prefer very traditional colors for their mobile devices, although their tastes are starting to widen. It’s not clear what this means for Apple’s strategy of offering the new iPhone XR in a rainbow of options.

“Black and silver dominate color preference in all regions surveyed,” Christopher Dodge, Strategy Analytics Associate Director, said of the poll his market-research firm carried out.

The rise of rose gold

Still, interest is growing in other hues. More than a third of survey respondents were interested in a white or rose gold. “Rose gold is definitely rising in popularity. The gap between black and other colors is also closing considerably,” continued Dodge.

The survey polled consumers in the US, Western Europe, China, and India. It found that rose gold is now the preferred color for women in the U.S. and China. And Chinese residents are more interested in non-traditional phone colors.

What about the other iPhone XR colors?

The iPhone XR comes in uber-traditional black, but a whole range of other options, too: white, blue, yellow, coral, and (Product)RED. Unfortunately, we have no hard data yet on which are the best selling.

Among the very slim evidence we have is that T-Mobile started selling out of other colors before it ran out of its supply of black and white iPhone XR units. Of course, the carrier could easily have had a larger supply of black and white because Apple knew these would be more popular. 

Predicting how the public will react to the appearance of the iPhone XR has to be colored by the semi-debacle that was the iPhone 5c. That was  the first time Apple offered one of its handsets in a variety of shades, and it remains the closest the iPhone line has come to flop. But this might be because the device was outdated when it was released, not a rejection of the various hues of its plastic casing.

At worst, Apple will sell large numbers of the iPhone XR in black, with the other colors left waiting on shelves for the right buyer to come along. At best, Apple will get buyers to  accept more colorful smartphone.