Were iPhone 5 Launch Sales Limited By Supply?


We reported earlier that the iPhone 5 had sold five million units during launch weekend. This figure was significantly less than what analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray had predicted just days prior to the iPhone 5 release.

With the sales figures being made public, Munster has stated that the Cupertino company’s limited supply couldn’t meet up with public demand. In other words, Apple would have sold more iPhone 5 units if supply wasn’t a factor. Brian White with Topeka Capital Markets had a similar theory; stating a supply shortage.

Munster says the outcome would be different if pre-orders were added to the figure: (via AppleInsider)

Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray said the sales shortfall is partially because he and others assumed Apple’s sales figures would include all phones that were preordered online. He believes that would add up to a million additional units to the total sales, as the company quickly sold out of launch-day stock.

Although sales weren’t as impressive as previously thought, Munster fully expects Apple to bounce back and sell 49 million iPhones during the December quarter.

Anyways, supply constraints obviously are an issue at this point. After just a week and a few days the shipping estimates for the iPhone 5 have reached three to four weeks. But for a company to sell five million units in a few day span is amazing regardless of the expectations.

Do you believe supply constraints factored into the “small” amount of sales over the weekend?


  • Anthony ?

    I’m glad we have analysts around to tell us that “if Apple had more phones to sell they would have sold more phones”. Not that 5 million is chump change mind you.

    In other news, manufacturing more of a given item will allow you to sell more of said item provided there is sufficient demand for said item.

    Also, water is wet, snow is cold, and wearing shoes that are too small will hurt your feet.

    Just sayin’ 🙂

  • Madmarty

    I tried to buy one in calgary this weekend – no luck.

  • John

    Clearly with sufficient demand manufacturing more will increase sales. The whole point of this article is to assess whether there was sufficient demand for more units or whether the amount produced was enough. Hence, “were sales limited by supply.” Don’t think the answer is necessarily that obvious. Arguably the article didn’t fully assess this question but that is for reasons other than what you critiqued it for.

  • Anthony ?

    That was mostly me being snarky, I’m like that on Mondays 🙂

  • As a Marketer and Art Director, I do believe that these are artificial shortages. By my experience, hype drives more sales than availability.

    *EDIT* I should clarify, “Long term sales”

  • You had coffee yet! 😉

  • Anthony ?

    Only 2 at that point 😉

  • I know people that work for the resellers and they hate Apple launches because they hold back product and only give them about 5 per store. Seriously, 5!!!!! So it it smart on Apples behalf, that is how they can create such a craze, people want what they can’t have. 🙂 I think it is a deliberate marketing move.

  • GoogleMaps_FTW

    Perhaps people may want to consider that the sales are lower because of things like totally pooched IOS6 Maps, and an appstore that has been rendered useless for searches, etc. But I am sure that has nothing to do with it, lol.

  • greg_hannah

    The Bell affiliate that I pre-ordered from only received 25 units in total and I never got mine. They said more were coming in Saturday, Tuesday (today) and Wednesday… so far I still have no phone.