Reflecting on AT&T’s iPhone Sales


January 9, 2013 (11:45 am)

We wanted to approach iPhone sales estimates from another vantage point. Yesterday, we discussed our rationale for estimating AT&T’s iPhone sales of at least 7.5 million, and likely over 8 million for the quarter.

In a typical quarter, Verizon sells about 3/4 of the amount sold by AT&T. A conservative estimate for Sprint is roughly 1/3 of Verizon’s total sales. So based on these round estimates, we come up with:

  • 8 million on AT&T
  • 6 million on Verizon (3/4 of AT&T)
  • 2 million on Sprint (1/3 of Verizon)
  • 16 million total sales in U.S.

However, this may prove to be a very conservative estimate. Sprint was pushing hard on the iPhone and will likely report significantly higher numbers than our projections. But let’s stay on the conservative route.

We expect approximately 16 million iPhone sales in the US, which typically makes up between 25%-30% of total iPhone sales globally. However, since the US market is the most saturated, it’s likely that the emerging markets and Asia will provide significantly higher sales than they did in the past. Further, the iPhone was released in a substantially higher number of countries this quarter compared to the year ago holiday quarter. But, again, let’s look at the conservative case.

If the US sales made up 30% of all iPhones sold globally, total sales would amount to 53 million. If the 16 million US sales represented 25%, sales would approach 65 million. We remain comfortable with our 54 million iPhone sales estimate, and hope our estimate proves conservative.