Apple’s most recent earnings report hinted at tough times ahead — the company reported iPhone shipments of 45 million and $28 billion in profit for the quarter, down about 5.3 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively, from the same quarter last year. But some territories, particularly the United States and Great Britain, bucked the downward trend. According to market research firm Kantar, the Cupertino, California-based company’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were the countries’ best-selling smartphones in September.
Last quarter, Apple’s top-of-the-line iPhone models made up 17.1 percent of all handsets sold in Great Britain and 15.1 percent of those sold in the U.S., Kantar Consumer Insight Director Lauren Guenveur reported. “In the U.S., the new [iPhone] models made an impact,” she wrote. And they performed especially well in Britain. Strength across Apple’s iPhone portfolio drove sales of iOS devices to 40.6 percent — a 2.4 percent increase from the same period a year ago. Kantar reported that the iPhone SE performed especially well, representing 8.5 percent of sales in the country.
But it wasn’t just Apple’s new crop of devices that flew off the shelves. The iPhone 6s was the second best-selling device in the U.S. in September, contributing to an overall growth of iOS sales in the country to 34.2 percent.
Sales were boosted in part by the popularity of large-screen devices. Kantar said that 47 percent of smartphone owners cited the size of the screen as the main driver of their satisfaction. And the continued travails of one of Apple’s biggest competitors helped, too. According to Kantar, sales of the beleaguered Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which has since been recalled, posted a year-on-year decline from 36.9 percent to 33.8 percent of U.S. smartphone sales in the third quarter.
The firm projects a difficult quarter ahead for the Seoul, South Korea-based smartphone maker. “The holiday sales season may prove to be more challenging than normal for Samsung, who competes head to head with Apple during this crucial time of year,” Kantar reported. “Fallout from the Note 7 recall could have an unintended impact on continuing sales of other, similarly named Samsung devices (chiefly the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge), as consumers may not always understand the difference between model names.”
Word of the iPhone 7’s growth may help allay fears among investors that shipments would suffer through the holiday season. Kantar noted that constrained supply, especially in China, played a major part in iPhone’s weaker-than-expected third quarter performance. “[With] supply constrained on the iPhone 7, and particularly the 7 Plus, this positive turn for Apple is a good sign, suggesting that as supply grows to meet demand, Apple will be able to turn the tide in urban China.”
During its most recent earnings conference, Apple noted that iPhone sales were “up” year-on-year in “33 of [the] top 40” markets. “Our results for the September quarter were very strong,” CEO Tim Cook said. “We’re thrilled with the customer response to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: these are the best iPhones we’ve ever made.”