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Apple’s growth in China linked to success of legacy devices

Data reveals that the company’s growth in this lucrative market doesn’t necessarily depend upon the success of its latest and greatest products.


Whenever Apple launches a new mobile device, its demand skyrockets, particularly in most major markets. That doesn’t seem to be the case in China. Data collected by research firm Mixpanel shows that its actually the other way around.

Mixpanel takes a look at how iOS devices perform in China’s lucrative wireless market. It finds that the hype generated by the imminent launch of a new Apple product is actually more important than the product. The most recent example of this can be found in the launch of iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. For the first time ever Apple launched new iPhones in China on the very same day that they went on sale in the West. In markets like Europe and the U.S., customers jumped at the opportunity to pick up a new iPhone. This behaviour is normally scene when a new iPhone is launched.

Some three months after launch, research reports indicated that on all four major U.S. carriers, the iPhone 5S was the best selling smartphone. Compare that with market stats in China and its a completely different story. As of now the most popular iOS device in China is the iPhone 5, accounting for over 19 percent of all traffic generated by iOS devices in the country. iPhone 5 remains on top despite the fact that both new iPhones have been launched on China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile network, which has spent a lot of marketing dollars promoting the new iPhones after it fired up its LTE network.

Its interesting to note that the September launch of both new iPhones and January launch on China Mobile drove growth, but not for the iPhone 5S and IPhone 5C. Mixpanel’s data shows that following the hype, the biggest gains were seen by legacy devices, such as the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5S and even the first generation iPad mini. There’s a simple explanation for this. Whenever a new Apple device is launched, the company cuts the price of its predecessor, making it more attractive for budget minded or even first time buyers.

Apple doesn’t exactly offer a smartphone for the mid-tier segment, its legacy devices cater to that as they tend to hang around for a year whenever new models are launched. The company’s growth in China ultimately comes down to the money being spent by customers, and if the data shows us anything, its that customers won’t hesitate going for the iPhone if it falls within their reach.

Source: Mixpanel

Adrian Fonseca
Adrian Fonseca keeps a close eye on all Apple news, rumors, leaks and developments. In his spare time, he likes to read books.

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