Gauging iPhone 5c Demand

Published on October 15, 2013
by John Paczkowski

yellowiphone5c380Apple’s iPhone 5c may not be selling quite as well as the flagship iPhone 5s, but make no mistake — it is selling.

To wit, the results of a recent Robert W. Baird channel check of U.S Apple Stores which seems to confirm emerging demand for the 5c. Baird analyst Will Power and his team investigated the availability of 600 different iPhone 5c SKUs last week, and found many in stock at nearly all the stores they checked. That said, there were some noteworthy variations.

“… Different stores have been running out of stock of a variety of SKUs, rather than just one or two stores always running out of stock of the same SKU,” Power explained. “This implies that while the iPhone 5c is easily found, its inventory is not sitting stagnant.”

So there is demand for the 5c, though its appearance has perhaps been belied somewhat by plentiful supply. Something to consider amid recent reports that claim Apple is dialing back iPhone 5c production because of slower-than-expected sales. That the iPhone 5c is in good supply likely says more about Apple’s ease in manufacturing it than it does about rumored rising inventory levels. Remember, the company has been building the 5c’s components for well over a year now; most were in the iPhone 5. And the device’s plastic chassis is far easier to produce than the aluminum one used in the 5s.

Could demand for the 5c be lower than Apple had hoped? It’s certainly possible. But there’s no way to tell for sure right now. And it’s equally possible that the 5c’s availability is a function of Apple’s ability to manufacture enough units of it to maintain a plentiful supply in the face of strong demand.

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