2011 iPhone Sales

A little more than a week ago former Patent Lawyer Nilay Patel published his analysis of of Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung. Three statistics Apple gave in its complaint stand out:

As of March 2011, more than 108 million iPhones had been sold worldwide.

By March 2011, Apple had sold over 60 million [iPod touch] units.

By March 2011, Apple sold over 19 million iPads.

By the end of February, Apple had sold a total of 187 million iOS devices. 57.75% were iPhones, 32.09% were iPod touches, and 10.16% were iPads.

The iPhone has been on the market for less than 4 years and yet it has brought in more than $58.056 billion in revenue. (That number only includes revenue from 2009 onward, after Apple switched accounting methods to more accurately reflect iPhone sales.) In 2010 the iPhone accounted for a staggering $30.087 billion in revenue. That’s more than twice the size of Jamaica’s entire GDP. Last quarter alone it brought in $12.298 billion, accounting for 49.856% of Apple’s $24.4667 billion of revenue.

Apple sold 13.765 million iPhones in 2008, 25.09 million iPhones in 2009, and 47.49 million iPhones in 2010. iPhone sales grew 82.27% year over year in 2009, and 89.28% 2010.

Needless to say, the iPhone is a huge part of Apple’s business.

The original iPhone went on sale on June 29th, 2007. Two models were available: a 4GB iPhone that sold for $499, and an 8GB iPhone that sold for $599. Less than three months after the original iPhone went on sale, Apple discontinued the 4GB model and dropped the price of the 8GB model by a third, to $400. Apple realized one of the biggest — if not the biggest — barriers to getting an iPhone was its price, despite the fact that it included both a smartphone and an iPod. Because consumers were used to highly subsidized phones, $400 sounded like a lot, no matter what phone it was or what features it had. So when Apple introduced the iPhone 3G in 2008, they also announced a new pricing model: instead of selling the phone to consumers at a hefty price, carriers would subsidize the phone and recoup their losses by charging a higher monthly fee.They’ve been using this model ever since. 

Because the iPhone’s price fluctuated so much in 2007 — it dropped from $599 to $399 — and in 2008 — it dropped from $399 to $199 — we can’t use those numbers to help calculate 2011 iPhone sales. We can only use data from 2009 onward since that was when Apple started keeping the iPhone’s price consistent throughout the year.

So far we only have Apple’s calendar Q1 2011 iPhone sales. If we look back at history and determine how many iPhones Apple sold in Q2, Q3, and Q4 in relation to its Q1 sales of that year, we can apply that percentage to 2011’s Q1 sales and we should be able to estimate how many iPhones Apple will sell this year.

In 2009 Apple sold 25.09 million iPhones: 3.79 million in Q1, 5.2 million in Q2, 7.4 million in Q3, and 8.7 million in Q4. Apple sold 37.20% more iPhones in Q2 than it did in Q1, 89.74% more iPhones in Q3 than it did in Q1, and 129.55% more iPhones in Q4 than it did in Q1.

2010 was a similar story: Apple sold 8.75 million iPhones in Q1, 8.4 million iPhones in Q2, 14.1 million in Q3, and 16.24 million in Q4. They sold 4% less iPhones in Q2 than they did in Q1, 61.14% more in Q3 than they did in Q1, and 85.6% more in Q4 than they did in Q1.

On average, Q2 iPhone sales have been 16.6% higher than Q1 sales, Q3 iPhone sales have been 75.44% higher than Q1 sales, and Q4 iPhone sales have been 107.575% higher than Q1 sales.

If we apply those numbers to the 18.65 million iPhones Apple sold in Q1 2011, we get 21.75 million iPhones, 32.72 million iPhones, and 38.71 million iPhones in Q2, Q3, and Q4, respectively. Adding those numbers together gives us a total of 111.83 million iPhones.

Apple sold 89.959 million iPhones from its launch in 2007 until the end of 2010. It’s extremely likely they’ll sell at least 100 million this year alone. Sit back and relax, Apple shareholders – it’s only uphill from here.