Rumors of the iPhone X’s success have been greatly exaggerated. At least, that’s what lowered sales projections from numerous market analysts suggest. Despite initially selling out of the phone, it appears Apple is struggling to keep the momentum going through the holiday season.
Citing “lackluster demand,” an analyst at Sinolink Securities said in a report on Monday that shipments in the first quarter of 2018 could be as low as 35 million, a steep drop from the projected 45 million sales.
“After the first wave of demand has been fulfilled, the market now worries that the high price of the iPhone X may weaken demand in the first quarter,” analyst Zhang Bin wrote, according to Bloomberg.
Another firm, JL Warren Capital, said shipments could drop as low as 25 million in the first quarter, down from the 30 million generated in the past two months. The firm says some suppliers are seeing fewer orders because of the phone’s high price point and “lack of interesting innovations.”
Adding insult to injury is a report from Taiwan’s Economic Daily that claims Apple slashed its first-quarter sales projections from 50 million to 30 million and froze hires at one of its factories. The analysts say Apple told one of its suppliers to slow down production, though that could be a result of seasonality or Apple reverting to more sustainable operations after ramping up to combat supply shortages for the phone’s launch.
If these reports hold true, Apple may be forced to reduce the price of its flagship phone to increase sales. A report from Digitimes suggests it could do so in early 2018.
“Apple is also rumored to adjust its pricing for iPhone devices in early 2018 and has even started preparing a prototype iPhone with support of pre-5G features,” the report says. “However, Apple has not officially confirmed any of the rumors.”
A decrease in sales for the 10th-anniversary device could prove critical for Apple, which has put its faith in the phone to get it out of an uncharacteristic slump. Apple hit its first revenue decline in April last year after more than a decade. iPhone sales fell 16 percent year-over-year from 2015 to 2016. The company did rebound in 2017, but things aren’t looking good going into the new year with reports claiming the slightly improved iPhone 8 is selling worse than its predecessor.
Apple’s shares have already dropped 2.5 percent since the reports were published, putting it on track for its worst single-day decline since August. More than 60 percent of Apple’s revenue comes from smartphone sales.