Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Sep 2013 10:38 UTC

I've been thinking a bit more about those iPhone 5C/5S weekend sales figures, and while it is certainly impressive, if you compare it to the iPhone 5's first weekend sales figures, it's actually quite a step backwards for Apple. The issue here - something many sites and even Apple itself doesn't want to focus on - is that the iPhone 5C/5S is available to a lot more people than the iPhone 5 was.

The iPhone 5 was available to 720 million people at launch, and sold 5 million units. This is a penetration of 0.69%. The iPhone 5C and 5S, however, are available to 2078 million people, and sold 9 million units, which constitutes a penetration of 0.43%. So, Apple has two new models to advertise and lure consumers with instead of one, and has a huge additional market (China) to address, yet it failed to capitalise on either of these two factors.

What this shows is that while the sales figure is still pretty darn impressive, it's not nearly as groundbreaking if you put it in perspective. Looking at it this way, the so-called record breaking 9 million figure can easily be explained away by Apple almost tripling its launch weekend audience, instead of an increasing popularity of the iPhone.

The only reason I'm writing this is to illustrate how numbers are entirely arbitrary, and it's easy to make silly comparisons and claim an arbitrary victory - or, change perspective a bit and claim arbitrary defeat, as I've done here.

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Comment by majipoor
by majipoor on Wed 25th Sep 2013 12:54 UTC
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With your logic, you cannot compare any sales number, for whatever company and whatever product because contexts are always somehow different.

For example, Android and iOS are not aimed at the same customers (price, features, open vs closed, ecosystem etc. are all different and will attract different markets), so how can you compare the Android market share with iOS market share for example?

One can argue that Android market share is obviously bigger than iOS because iPhone pricing limit them to a smaller segment and because less carriers have the iPhone available. Did you try to compute Android and iOS "penetration" as you do here? You may find that iOS penetration is actually bigger than Android on their respective market. Would you then say that iOS is more successful than Android?

The overall smartphone market also evolve quickly and the market is a lot bigger this year compared to last year: you forgot to take this point into account in your penetration ratio. Too bad because it would have been even less favorable for Apple.

Come on: the only important number concerning sales or market share for a company and the only way to compare how successful a product is is to consider the revenue and profit for this company, because this is all that matter when trying to know whether a company is successful, whether you like it or not.

If you don't care about revenue or profit, then you shouldn't care about how many iPhones Apple did sell last week-end.

If you care, then Apple did actually and without any doubt make a lot more money last week-end compared to last year.

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