Toni Sacconaghi, the analyst for Sanford Bernstein, believes that very soon Apple might find it difficult to get new buyers for its iPhones. This does not mean that the iPhone is going to lose its popularity. The problem is that people who like iPhone already have it. They are much more likely to look for an upgrade than for the new phone. Sacconaghi reports that the number of the completely new customers in the market for the iPhone will drop by about 13 percent, from 62 percent to 54 percent. In the next year, the number will drop to 37 percents and in 2015 to 28 percents. At the same time, in 2015, the sale of replacement phones will grow to almost three quarters of Apple’s total sales.
The analyst believes that the only way for this trend to change would be if Apple would sign a contract with CHL (China Mobile) or if it starts selling an iPhone at the price affordable to the consumers in the developing countries.
Apple’s sales of iPhone sales are not going to suddenly completely dry out, that is not the problem. But, the numbers are clear: about 800 million people already have an iPhone or another kind of smartphone. Only about 1.25 billion consumers worldwide can afford any kind of smartphone. Apple has no choice but to address the need for cheaper smartphones. The lower end market is estimated to have about 500 million new potential customers per year in the next couple of years.
The rumors are circulating that the Apple is close to signing a contract with China Mobile and tapping into the company’s 700 million customers, but there is no official confirmation.