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Digitimes says iPhone 6 Plus accounting for 60% of iPhone 6 shipments, but usage stats suggest otherwise

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 11.01.28

A new report by Digitimes says that, contrary to public opinion, the iPhone 6 Plus is receiving more orders after beating initial demand expectations. The report says 60% of iPhone production is iPhone 6 Plus units, which may be interpreted as the iPhone 6 Plus being the more popular model. It also says that Foxconn is responsible for iPhone 6 Plus supply, whereas Pegatron is taking up iPhone 6 output.

However, Digitimes doesn’t have the best track record and this information sort of defies other evidence. Firstly, it is important to note that production does not correlate proportionally to demand. It was well publicised that the iPhone 6 Plus was supply-constrained in the runup to release. The burst of iPhone 6 Plus production now may simply be restoring the balance, clearing the backlog of orders.

Moreover, web analytics clearly show that the iPhone 6 is the much more popular device. As shown above, Mixpanel says that the iPhone 6 currently represents 5% of total iPhone usage on the web. Although the share of 6 Plus has been climbing, it remains below 1.2%. With both models of the iPhone consistently out of stock, usage should roughly equal the phone production ratios. Something doesn’t add up.

On price theory alone, it is likely that the iPhone 6 will remain the more popular model, as it is more accessible to more people. That being said, there is a third explanation for the dominance of the iPhone 6 Plus. Later this month, Apple will release the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in China. Apple may have found that this market finds the larger 5.5 inch device more appealing and is readjusting production to meet pent-up demand for the Chinese launch, which has already attracted 2 million phone reservations.

Although not impossible, it would be very surprising to expect the Plus  to continue to represent 60% of total iPhone 6 production. Tim Cook has previously said to not trust supply reports from just one study. This feels like one of these instances.

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  1. aeronperyton - 8 years ago

    So many reports at launch indicated that there were significantly fewer Pluses built than regular 6s, so it would be impossible for the 6 Plus to represent more sales than the 6. Unless there are a whole load of 6s just sitting on shelves all over the world, which is also impossible because no one can keep any model of iPhone 6 in stock at the moment.

    • taoprophet420 - 8 years ago

      72 million 6 units and 8 million 6 plus units was the most common number tossed out.

      With low display yield rates and other hiccups that number is probably not that far off. Virtually all carrier andApple have 3-4 week wait time for 6 plus units.

      Apple never releases sales for the different models so we will never know the true split of sales.

      • Nycko Heimberg - 8 years ago

        They can be the replacements of iPhones 6 +.
        And spare parts….

  2. squuiid - 8 years ago

    As I have already stated on MacRumors, this is a dumb analysis and conclusion. You cannot base iPhone 6 Plus shipments based on volumes of parts ordered.

    Demand for the Plus was clearly underestimated by Apple, the product forecasting team got it wrong, so bigger orders for parts now just means they are playing catchup with demand.

    • giskardian - 8 years ago

      Or they are simply catching up due to production issues with the 6+.

      We have no idea of Apple’s demand estmates.

    • Pierre Calixte - 8 years ago

      my thoughts exactly…and since the 6 plus is the more expensive and probably the more profitable phone, they are probably trying to ramp up production as quickly as they can so not to allow anyone to consider a note 4 or the cheaper iphone 6.

  3. timcrook - 8 years ago

    Bigger is always better :)

  4. i think they are all used for bend tests on youtube.

  5. patstar5 - 8 years ago

    My friend’s iPhone 6 is already slightly bent. I am not paying $850 for a 64gb 6+ just for it to bend in my pocket. I am wondering how the smartphone industry will change next year when google releases project Ara. A modular smartphone you build yourself. Then you would only have 1 phone you can customize and upgrade everything by swapping out components. The price would also be much less than non modular smartphones. Project Ara might be the next iPhone Goodbye to the rest of the phone industry

    • paulywalnuts23 - 8 years ago

      I don’t think so. The common individual doesn’t have a need or time to worry about custom building there smart phone. PC’s have been modular for decades and have you seen the custom built PC market wipe out everyone else? I think not… I see the same thing happening when Ara comes out. Those that like to build their own devices and want to be able to switch out parts will… The rest of us, no thank you, oh and it will still be running Android so it also has that going against it for a lot of people as well.

    • standardpull - 8 years ago

      Yes, I agree that Samsung has made some awful product, and that they are now trying just about anything to trick buyers into thinking that Apple products are flawed. Unfortunately for Samsung, Apple has a huge hit with the iPhone 6 series, with performance and quality that far exceeds Samsung’s NEXT generation of product. Samsung’s only differentiator before was a larger screen. Now Samsung has lost the single feature that they could claim.

      Given this, I think it isn’t surprising that Samsung’s sales and profit have plummeted after they failed to achieve their goals by a wide margin. The market dumped Samsung stock for this reason. Samsung leadership has been seeming to imply that they have a tough road ahead – perhaps untenable for them – in the Smartphone market. Will Samsung go bankrupt? Not likely, as they still make heavy equipment and other more industrial products, which is more of their sweet spot. But Samsung is reeling and will likely need to withdraw from the handset market given their current product quality and their inability to fix their smartphone product line.

      So the big question isn’t if Samsung will ever be able to improve their smartphone lineup – the question is will Samsung leadership decide to give up the handheld market altogether?

      • You are obsessed with samsung man. let it go.

      • giskardian - 8 years ago

        You’re off your nut, Samsung are doing just fine. Since they build some of the best LCD and OLED panels in the business, they will continue to dominate the mobile device market, whether products say “Samsung” on them or not.

        As for smartphones, Samsung build the most innovative devices now, not Apple. Look at the Note Galaxy Edge – incredible display tech implemented in way that is quite usable.

        I’ve ordered a 6+ with the expectation that it’s the last iPhone I’ll ever own. Once Google builds a stable version of Android, that’s it for iOS. Android is more Mac-like than iOS and is really the far better GUI.

      • Jovany Zapata - 8 years ago

        but… but… but Samsung still has a Stylus, isn’t that the biggest advantage? Or the higher megapixel cameras… or… or… the higher density screens. Yeah! More pixels my eyes can’t make out anyways… SAMSUNG IS THE WIN! /s

    • John Cooper (@JFC1138) - 8 years ago

      Hobby kits didn’t “goodbye” any product segment yet so I don’t see that changing for phones.

  6. zeromeus - 8 years ago

    Maybe Digitimes is only talking about the Chinese market. If it only applies to the Chinese market, then this is plausible.

  7. dennyc69 - 8 years ago

    There are people like me who are waiting for their 6 Plus to come in and the 6 has been more widely available so I wouldn’t trust any numbers until January of 2015

  8. Lars Pallesen - 8 years ago

    Digitimes is, if nothing else, consistent in their reporting. They are consistently wrong.

  9. I doubt there are that many 6+s being sold. My original estimate for the 6+ was Oct 23rd and it got here Sep 30th. I’m guessing if it was truly a 50/50 spit I would still be waiting for the 6+.

    To add to this I didn’t order the 6+ until 3 days after launch day.

  10. Ice44 (@Ice44) - 8 years ago

    I would say this isn’t a true representation of sales since so many people are still waiting to get their iPhone 6+ that are back ordered/delayed

  11. al0963 - 8 years ago

    If you go to any store to get the 6+ there is nothing but they still have the 6 on stock!

  12. Chris Sanders - 8 years ago

    I’m guessing that China is partly responsible for the lag. They like bigger phones. Plus many of shipments are the result of not having 6+s in stock initially.

  13. Jon DeMuria - 8 years ago

    I don’t understand what bloggers aren’t getting about the usage stats. There simply wasn’t enough 6+ available at launch, huge retailers like Best Buy still aren’t even offering it. All the Verizon stores in the Philadelphia and NYC area didn’t carry on launch day either. Now that demand is exploding for the 6+ Apple is changing production to get this done. Apple severely underestimated the demand for the 6+

    • giskardian - 8 years ago

      Production is “exploding” because it was at a trickle until now due to problems with display yield. There is no evidence of Apple’s demand estimates.

  14. Jovany Zapata - 8 years ago

    The 60% figure might account for all those 6 Pluses AT&T has pre-sold but hasn’t delivered. Like mine -__-


Avatar for Benjamin Mayo Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.