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iPhone Sales Mix - How It's Weakening

Apple's iPhone business is the most valuable part of its operation. So watching iPhone performance in the sales market has become key for those looking to invest in the company or its products.

Over the last couple of quarters results I've suggested that Apple's iPhone sales mix was weakening - instead of selling high-end iPhone 5 at lucrative profit levels it was selling more iPhone 4 and 4S models. As these older phones are still the same premium phones they were when current its clear that at the basement prices that Apple are charging for them they generate less profit. Hence the need for a cheaper to build entry-level iPhone.

Now some numbers have been released which back this up. AppleInsider is reporting on data from Consumer Intelligence Research partners which graphically demonstrates the problem Tim Cook faces.

In the most recent set of financial report Apple said that it shipped just over 30 million iPhones and now we know the sales mix (for the US anyway). 52% were iPhone 5, 30% were iPhone 4S and the remaining 18% iPhone 4.

If these ratios fit globally (and I see no reason why they wouldn't) approximately 15m top end devices were sold.

Using the same method to compare that to October 2011. The 4S was top dog iPhone and Apple only shipped 17 million iPhones. 90% of them were 4S models - approximately 15.3m top end devices sold. That's not a good number for Apple.

The iPhone 5 has never taken more than 68% of the iPhone market, and then only at launch.

The data looks worse when you look at model mix as well. The top end iPhone 5 64GB captured just 5% of its sales, compared to 21% for the 4S 64GB that preceded it.

All this helps to point the future market for smartphones in general, and Apple in particular, towards the better value end of the market. It seems Apple is not immune to the global financial woes and this will certainly shape the company's future strategy.

How long before we see the new entry-level iPhone? The sooner the better for Apple...