Multiple reports suggest that Apple's high-end iPhone 5S is outselling its plastic 5C counterpart, though Apple has yet to break out the exact sales numbers.
Based on interviews with 500 customers who purchased an iPhone in the US between June and September, including the period following the 20 September launch of the iPhone 5S and 5C, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) found that 64 per cent of consumers picked up the 5S, compared to 27 per cent who purchased the 5C.
"[These] results confirm anecdotal reports that the flagship iPhone 5s outsold the lower-priced iPhone 5c," CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz said in a statement.
Last year, a similar survey from CIRP found that 68 per cent of iPhone buyers picked up the new iPhone 5, while 23 per cent opted for the iPhone 4S, which got a price drop alongside the iPhone 5's arrival, and nine per cent picked up the iPhone 4.
Data from Mixpanel, meanwhile, recorded more activity on its network coming from the iPhone 5S than the 5C as of 30 September - 2.05 per cent on the 5S vs. 0.70 per cent on the 5C. As of 14 October, that jumped to 3.33 per cent for the 5S and 1.06 per cent for the 5C.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the tech giant last month revealed that it sold 9 million new iPhones in their first three days on the market. The company did not, however, break down the numbers for each device.
This doesn't mean the iPhone 5C is a total failure, though. Lowitz has faith that sales numbers will begin to even out.
"Over time, the lower-priced phones have tended to gain share versus the flagship phone, after the initial rush of dedicated upgraders to the newest device," he told AllThingsD. "So we expect that the 5c will account for a higher percentage of total U.S. iPhone sales in the coming months, but the design changes may alter that dynamic. The iPhone 5c may appeal to different buyers than the legacy 4S did last year, or the new 5s will this year."
The iPhone 5C is priced at £469 for 16GB. That's not exactly a low-cost phone for emerging markets, but it might appeal to students or other phone buyers on a budget, or those who just want a more colourful smartphone.
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