International Consumer Behavior Affects iPhone Sales

Studying consumer behavior means attempting to understand decision-making processes that buyers go through as they select a product or service for purchase. Over the past month, many consumers have been going through this process in order to acquire one of the new Apple iPhones. Typically, people start by asking themselves if the iPhone 6 models offer enough new features above what is included on the older models to justify an upgrade. Next comes the hard part –weather to purchase the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 6 Plus. This is a purchasing decision Apple is surely interested in understanding as sales of the 6 Plus produce a higher profit margin for the tech giant.

6 vs. 6 Plus
iPhone 6 vs. 6 Plus

When examining why a consumer would want to purchase either of the new iPhones it’s easy to recognize the advancements and features that persuade a purchase. Bigger screens, faster A8 processors and longer battery life are all important. Some other enhanced features that may entice consumers sitting on the fence include optimal image stabilization, 1080p (HD) video recording, WiFi calling and Apple Pay. While both versions of the new phone work well, the 6 Plus has some advantages. For instance the 5.5 inch full HD display makes it the better choice for consuming content and the larger battery enables it to hold a charge for multiple days. In deciding which phone to purchase it is really up to the individual to think about what they will use the phone for most. Those who predominantly use their phones to call and text might choose the regular iPhone 6. People who spend a lot of the time on their phones consuming digital content may want think about picking up the 6 Plus.

In the United States, people still seem to prefer the regular iPhone 6 over the Plus model. The 4.7 inch iPhone has accounted for about 62% of domestic iPhone sales while the 5.5 inch Plus model has accounted for about 24% of domestic iPhone sales. What about consumers in different countries around the world? European smartphone preferences look to be somewhat aligned with those in the US. In China, however, consumers have already caught on to the growing “Phablet” trend. In the first quarter of 2014, for example, larger “phablet-style” phones already made up close to 40% of smartphone sales. Results from a recent digital consumer survey by Accenture show that 66% of potential smartphone buyers in China would prefer to buy a “phablet.” Apple had a production priority in China where the regular sized iPhone was being produced in greater numbers. Due to the greater adoption rates of the 6 Plus, they are attempting to speed up production of the larger model to meet higher than expected demand in the region. As the rollout of the new iPhones continues around the world it will be interesting to see which cultures favor each model. If Apple is able to more accurately predict consumer behavior in each country it enters with the new phones it will be able to systematically meet varying demands and ultimately boost future margins.