Apple achieved 17% shipment growth of its iPhone smartphone family in Q1 2014, thanks largely to strong shipments of the new flagship iPhone 5s model, according to new research from Strategy Analytics’ Handset Country Share Tracker (HCST) service.
Having been supply-constrained in Q4 2013 - its first full quarter of availability - the iPhone 5s faced a better supply situation in Q1 2014, enabling Apple to more fully fulfil demand for its new flagship, as well as accommodate latent demand from the previous quarter. In contrast, shipments of the cheaper iPhone 5c were considerably lower, while those of the two-year-old iPhone 4S were stronger than accepted.
All this implies that consumers are likely to either chose the latest flagship, or the lowest-priced iPhone available, calling into question the viability of launching a new model that offers insufficient price differentiation from the flagship. Apple must now once more consider whether the launch of a significantly cheaper iPhone has strategic merit.