The iPhone XR is probably a pretty popular phone, just like the iPhone XS and XS Max have been for Apple. But at least one analyst has changed their tune as 2018 winds down.
Ming-Chi Kuo has released a new research note today, outlining his expectation that Apple won’t see so many iPhone XR units sold heading into 2019 as previously expected, and the reasons for that are many. The analyst believes that “negative impacts on consumers” due to the trade war between China and the United States will play a role in impacting iPhone XR sales estimates. In addition to that, Kuo believes that customers want smaller bezels on the XR (like you can find on the XS/XS Max), a dual camera setup, or an even more affordable option.
And, finally, Kuo believes that competition will impact iPhone XR sales as well. Specifically, Kuo expects Huawei’s Mate 20 series will play a big role in beating back iPhone XR sales. Of course, that may be the case in some international markets where the Huawei Mate 20 series is available, but that’s not really a concern for Apple in the United States.
As a result of these expectations, Kuo has cut shipment expectation from 100 million units down to “just” 70 million units during the “new product lifecycle”:
“We have reduced our iPhone XR shipment estimation from 100mn units to 70mn during the new product lifecycle (4Q18–3Q19) for the following reasons: 1) Negative impacts on consumer confidence from the trade war, especially in the Chinese market, 2) expectations from more users for more affordable XR or the dual-camera and narrower bezel design to be provided at the current price level, and 3) competition from Huawei’s Mate 20 series. We have reduced our XR shipment estimations for 4Q18, 1Q19, and 2Q19 by 30–35%, 25–30%, and 25–30% to 30–35, 20–25, and 10–15mn units, respectively.”
For those keeping track, this is Kuo changing his expectations in a big way. Back in October, Kuo was expecting the iPhone XR to be in bigger demand than the iPhone 8 was last year. And we may be at the mercy of analyst expectations moving forward, because Apple has already announced that it will no longer be reporting individual sales of the iPhone (or iPad and Mac, for that matter). Apple’s latest quarterly earnings report was massive, and successful for the company, but it didn’t include the iPhone XR. And now we won’t know, officially, just how well Apple’s iPhone XR is doing with Apple’s next quarterly earnings.