Apple's Newest Line Dominated iPhone Sales In Q1: What It Could Mean For Earnings

New research released ahead of Apple Inc's AAPL March quarter results, due on April 28, points toward strong uptake for the latest iteration of its iPhones.

What Happened:  The entire Apple iPhone 13 lineup had the largest share of the total iPhones sold in the U.S. in several years, in the March quarter, market research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners said in its recent report.

Apple unveiled its iPhone 13 iteration, comprising the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone Pro Max, and iPhone 13 mini variants, in mid-September 2021. These four variants accounted for almost 75% of the sales in the March quarter. A year ago, the then-new iPhone 12 models made up 61% of the total iPhone sales in the U.S.

See Also: How To Buy Apple (AAPL) Shares 

Despite gradual improvements in models after the pandemic, buyers preferred Apple's newest phones, CIRP said.

The iPhone mini sales remained anemic, with the mini versions of both the iPhone 12 and 13 accounting for only 3% of the total U.S. iPhone sales. Reports suggest Apple will discontinue the iPhone mini this year.

CIRP's data also showed iPhone buyers are keeping their older phones for a shorter time, reversing a long-term trend, with only 20% of buyers holding their previous iPhones for three years or longer.

"Since the market shifted to unsubsidized phone sales on installment contracts, the age of old phones climbed as owners enjoyed using their paid-for phones. Recently that trend reversed, perhaps as options for trading-in high value used phones continued to improve," said Mike Levin, CIRP partner and co-founder.

Related Link: Apple Toppled As Smartphone Market Leader In Q1: Here's What Hurt Cupertino's Performance 

Why It's Important:  The improvements in the iPhone 13 vis-à-vis the iPhone 12 are mostly iterative and the price differential between the two models averages around $50. Higher iPhone 13 sales, therefore, will have a positive impact on margins but by not much.

The data on faster upgrades to new models bodes well for volume and margins.

The next iteration of Apple's budget model, the iPhone SE 3, was made available to customers only on March 18 and is unlikely to have much impact on the quarterly results.

Apple is expected to report March quarter revenues of $94.02 billion and earnings per share of $1.43, according to data from Benzinga Pro. These headline metrics were at $89.6 billion and $1.40, respectively, in the year-ago quarter.

Price Action: Apple closed Thursday's session at $166.42, down 0.48%.

Related Link: Apple Spends Record Amount On Lobbying In Q1 Amid Congress' Big Tech Clampdown

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