Largest China Weekend Sale for Apple with Release of iPhone 5
Apple Inc has happily announced their highest ever sales for a weekend in China of a smartphone product with the release of their new iPhone 5 on Friday. The announcement came from CEO Tim Cook and was the first time that country’s sales figures had been publicly released by the company.
The debut of the new iPhone model hit store shelves just in time for the weekend. In only three days, over two million units were snatched up by eager buyers. Apparently, buyers found the larger 4G capacity and 4-inch screen of the new smartphone quite appealing.
China’s booming economy and skyrocketing middle class has led to increased sales in high tech imported and China products such as smartphones and smartpads. The country is going through a similar buying trend as Japan did in the boom years of the 80s, buying up the latest versions of savvy tech products from both international and China manufacturing companies. Such products are seen as status symbols of the prosperous.
China is Apple’s second largest market so high sales were anticipated. Also, it was somewhat expected that Chinese iPhone 4 owners would trade in their old versions for the hot new iPhone 5 to “keep up with the Wangs” as it were. Apple also saw a 3-day sale exceeding five million units when the iPhone 5 was launched in over 30 countries in September, including the United States.
However, it was a relief for Apple to see this weekend’s record sales numbers due to their sagging market shares. Most recently, Apple has seen a slide in share prices almost every day with targets being reduced on Apple stocks by numerous analysts. Friday’s Nasdaq close saw their stock value drop almost 13 percent since the beginning of December.
Even with the record weekend sales, Apple stock was downgraded from “buy” status to “neutral” status by Citi Research on Sunday. They reduced the stock’s target price of $675 down to $575 stating a better atmosphere of competition in the smartphone market and dwindling iPhone 5 hype as the reasons for the reduction.
Tougher competition in the mobile device market has definitely taken a bite out of Apple sales worldwide. The release of Kindle Fire tablets by Amazon.com along with the launch of the Surface tablets by Microsoft have seen pleasing sales and have worked to lessen Apple’s influence in the market. Apple has had to cut orders recently to its suppliers of iPhones in order to try and balance inventories that had become excessive.
Apple has hinted at an expansion of doing business in China to gain a greater foothold in that market overall. One company that’s a target of China sourcing is China Mobile Ltd which is a leading telecoms provider in the country and being eyed as a productive partner by Apple.
With China emerging as the world’s increasingly dominant consumer market, Apple will have to work hard to find productive avenues into the pockets of buyers. While they focus on that however, they will surely continue to welcome the kind of record sales experienced over the weekend by their iPhone 5.