FOCUS: Sellers enjoy Apple fans’ craze as priciest iPhone X swept off shelves
By Yekaterina Yezhova
MOSCOW, Nov 13 (PRIME) -- Russian sales of new models of the iPhone, the brand that secures a third of local retailers’ revenue, have hit a record with people queuing for several days to buy the iPhone X, the most expensive Apple phone to-date. If there had been more devices in stock, sales could have been even higher, retailers said.
“The iPhone is one of the most popular smartphones in Russia along with devices from Samsung and Huawei/Honor and the leader by market share in rubles. Apple’s phones bring Russian retailers some 33% of total revenue from smartphones,” Sergei Tikhonov, a spokesman for multi-channel retailer Svyaznoy, told PRIME.
“In January–September, Russians purchased 26% more iPhones than in the same period of 2016. At Svyaznoy, the top three Apple’s bestsellers were the iPhone 6, 6s, and 7 as of the end of September.”
A market source said that iPhones held 12% of the country’s market in units in January–September.
According to electronics seller M.Video, the country’s smartphone market swelled 15.6% on the year to 259 billion rubles in January–September and added 10% to more than 20 million in units.
iPhone 8, 8 Plus
M.Video opened pre-ordering for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus a week ahead of the official start of sales on September 28. The iPhone 8 64 GB price amounts to 56,990 rubles and 68,990 rubles for 256 GB. The price tag for the iPhone 8 Plus 64 GB stands at 64,990 rubles and 76,990 rubles for 256 GB, as Apple’s official Web site says.
“On the first day of pre-orders, applications for the new models were twice the number of orders for the previous ones. For the first time on record, a larger model had overtaken a standard model by popularity: the iPhone 8 Plus space gray with 64 GB was a bestseller. The 5.5-inch devices, the Plus model, account for 55–60% of orders as compared to 30% last year,” M.Video PR Director Valeria Andreyeva said.
Svyaznoy saw the same demand for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus as a year ago for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. “As of the end of the first month of sales of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, the iPhone 8 with 64 GB of memory in a space gray finishing was the bestseller at Svyaznoy. Size preferences were 50/50,” Tikhonov said.
“Demand for the new gadget is up to expectations. Popularity is boosted by loyalty to the Apple brand in Russia, technical features of the devices, the launch of installment programs and trade-in, or exchange of old smartphones for new models with a discount. In January–September, sales of phablets, or large-screen phones, soared 48% on the year in units, and sales of the iPhone 8 Plus grew correspondingly.”
Svyaznoy, as well as some other large retailers, started taking pre-orders for the iPhone X, the most expensive Apple’s smartphone ever manufactured, on October 27 in Internet stores svyaznoy.ru and c-store.ru. “During the first few days, the number of orders was twice as high as the figures for the previous iPhone 8 and 8 Plus,” the Svyaznoy spokesman said.
M.Video said the volume of pre-orders for the iPhone X was more than 10 times higher than for the iPhone 7 or 8. “The bulk was booked within the first three hours of the campaign. The bestseller was the iPhone X space gray with 256 GB, 40% of orders were from Moscow,” Andreyeva said.
People started queuing in Moscow for the new device several days before November 3, the first day of official sales, and the sellers run out of stock within hours, but promised to replenish it shortly. The iPhone X with 64 GB costs 79.990 rubles and with 256 GB - 91,990 rubles.
“During the first days of sales we saw high interest to the iPhone X among buyers with demand exceeding that for the iPhone 7 by 50% and the one of the iPhone 8 by 60%,” retailer Euroset PR Director Alexandra Pertseva told PRIME.
“Meanwhile, sales demonstrated rather the model’s availability in stores than real demand. If there had been more devices, sales would have been higher. Our bestseller was the iPhone X with 256 GB of memory, accounting for 55% of total sales of this device, and by color it was a silver finishing with 56% of sales.”
(59.2808 rubles – U.S. $1)