Top Apple analyst predicts shrinking iPhone sales in 2019

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iPhone XR test
Apple's stock price decline could continue well into 2019.
Photo: Apple

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is one of the more reliable Apple watchers out there. And he doesn’t have good news for the company.

In his latest note to clients, Kuo slashes his estimate on the number of iPhones Apple is likely to sell in the coming months. Compared to the 50 million iPhones Apple sold in Q1 2018, Kuo thinks the company will sell just 38 to 42 million units.

In total, Kuo expects that Apple sold (and will continue to sell) 210 million iPhones in the whole of 2018. For next year, however, he expects that number to fall to 188 to 194 million. This 5-10 percent decline would be considerably below investor expectations, which are above the 200 million units level.

Kuo is particularly down on the iPhone XR. Initially, he thought 20 to 25 million units would sell over the first quarter of 2019. He now figures the correct number is more in the region of 15 to 20 million units.

A lean Christmas?

Apple has tried to allay lower iPhone demand by upping the average sale price per unit. In doing so, it squeezes more money out of a smaller customer pool. However, given that Apple adopted this higher priced strategy last year with the iPhone X, that’s bad news if numbers continue to drop.

An HSBC analyst alarmed investors last week when they stated that meaningful iPhone growth is largely over. While many investors point to promising metrics like Apple’s Services division, not everyone is convinced this will make up the shortfall.

Unless everyone is wrong about iPhone sales (which, to be fair, they were in early 2018), 2019 could turn out to be a disappointing year for Apple.

Source: 9to5Mac