Consumers are favoring Apple's iPhone 7 over the more recent iPhone 8, according to KeyBanc Capital Markets. Carrier store surveys are indicating that sales of the older, cheaper phone are still outpacing those of the current model.
AT&T said that there have been 900,000 fewer phone upgrades this year than last. One brokerage firm, Jefferies, has speculated that the decrease is due to weak iPhone demand compared to previous upgrade cycles.
“Many respondents indicated that a meaningful portion of customers are buying iPhone 7 in lieu of the new iPhone 8, given the lack of significant enhancements in the new phone,” said KeyBanc analyst John Vinh, according to a Reuters news report. He also indicated that consumers may be holding off on purchasing the iPhone 8 due to the looming release of the iPhone X in November, less than two months from the 8’s release in September of this year.
Jason Ware, chief investment officer of Albion Financial Group, downplayed any concerns that an accelerated release cycle was cutting into iPhone 8 sales. “Worrying about any small downtick in margins from the sale of the iPhone 7 or 8 is a wrong-headed way to look at it, as iPhone X is really the flagship device where we’re going to see a strong upgrade cycle,” said Ware.
Another possible obstacle facing sales of the iPhone 8 is reduced carrier support. “While carriers continue to offer promotions for the new iPhone 8, they have been much more modest compared to the iPhone 7 launch last year,” noted Vinh.
The iPhone 8, which resembles the iPhone 7 except for a glass back used in wireless charging, retails for $699. The older iPhone 7 retails for a reduced price of $549.
Independently, Andy Hargreaves, also of KeyBanc, upgraded Apple stock to “overweight” from “sector weight,” setting a target price of $187.