While there is already speculation about its end of life scheduled for this year itself, the iPhone X is now reported to be the "world's best-shipping smartphone model" in the fourth quarter of 2017. Analyst firm Canalys claims that Apple shipped as many as 29 million iPhone X units in the fourth quarter - particularly, seven million units were shipped in China.
Canalys believes that the adoption of the iPhone X was majorly driven by upgrade demand in operator-centric markets such as the US and Canada, where Apple's installed base is high and customers have the ability to finance the $999 cost of the latest iPhone model over many months. Having said that, the fresh numbers from Canalys are lower than KGI's estimations.
Ben Stanton of Canalys highlights that the supply issues that Apple faced following the launch of the iPhone X restricted its growth, however, the company ultimately managed to achieve a massive uplift in production in late November and throughout December. "This helped it meet and even exceed demand in some markets by the end of the quarter. One major benefit to Apple is that customers are increasingly realising the residual value of their old smartphones, opting for trade-in programmes to offset the high price of the iPhone X," Stanton, who is an analyst at Canalys, said in a press release, adding that the big price tag of the iPhone X, and Apple's split launch strategy that brought the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus alongside the flagship iPhone model made its shipments not the fastest ever for an iPhone.
Alongside the iPhone X, Canalys says that the iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, and iPhone 8 models also "shipped well" in the fourth quarter, showing sufficient demand for the older models due to their value for money characteristics. Furthermore, the larger portfolio is considered to help Apple meet its overall shipment targets in addition to retaining its market leadership in the premium segment. "While new technologies, such as Face ID and bezel-less displays, help to justify the $999 price tag and maintain competitiveness with Samsung, Huawei and Google, having a larger portfolio allows Apple to meet its overall shipment targets, and protect its market leadership in the premium segment," said Canalys Analyst TuanAnh Nguyen, in the release.
The data reported by Canalys match what was released by other market research firms, showing the initial success of the iPhone X though without meeting the early market estimates. A recent CIRP study highlighted that the 2017 iPhone trio, which includes the iPhone X as well as the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, accounted for nearly 61 percent of total iPhone sales in the US in the fourth quarter. Likewise, Kantar Worldpanel's fresh smartphone OS data claims that the iPhone X resulted in a "stellar" performance in multiple worldwide markets during November. The latest iPhone model was outsold by the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus in the US, while all the three new iPhone versions gained leadership in the list of best-selling smartphone models during the month that also includes the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Kantar Worldpanel report stated.
Apple is likely to reveal some details with respect to the performance of the iPhone X during its Q1 2018 earnings that are scheduled for February 1. Meanwhile, a recent KGI report confirmed that the Cupertino company will ship around 18 million iPhone X units in the first quarter. The report also mentioned that the iPhone X will "go to end of life" around the middle of 2018 to make space for its next iterations, including a rumoured 6.1-inch LCD version.