iPhone 6S Facing Stiff Competition From Predecessors In China

Apple sold a whopping 13 million units of its latest iPhone 6S and 6S Plus in the opening weekend, setting a new record. But a new report from market research firm Kantar Worldpanel shows that both new devices are facing stiff competition from their predecessors, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, in China. That’s despite the fact that Apple sold 3 million units of the new phones in China in the first week of launch.

Why Chinese consumers prefer older models

Citing Kantar Worldpanel, China’s Xinhua news agency says last year’s iPhones continued to enjoy strong sales ahead of the launch of iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Usually, sales of older versions decline when the launch of a new variant approaches as customers wait for new products. The U.S. market showed the traditional pattern as market share for iOS between June and August dipped to the lowest level since August 2014. But it was an entirely different story in China.

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Kantar Worldpanel director Tamsin Timpson said buyers cited camera quality, screen size, and clarity and resolution as three biggest reasons to buy the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Chinese consumers are often inclined to buy older models that see a price drop ahead of new releases. Meanwhile, two different reports show that the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus uptake has been slower than last year’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

iPhone 6S uptake much slower than last year’s models

Data from mobile marketing technology firm Fiksu shows that iPhone 6S accounts for just 2.6% of the total iPhone usage. By comparison, the iPhone 6 usage stood at 3.9% at the same time last year following its launch. The big-screen iPhone 6S Plus is at 0.8% compared to 1% for the iPhone 6 Plus last year. The combined usage of the latest iPhone models was 3.4% versus 4.9% for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at the same time last year.

Another firm Localytics painted a similar picture. Localytics data suggests the iPhone 6S usage at 2.1% of the total compared to 3.4% for the iPhone 6 last year. The iPhone 6S Plus stands at 0.5% versus 0.6% for its predecessor at the same time a year ago. The combined usage of iPhone 6S and 6S Plus was 2.6% compared to 4% for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last year.