Apple’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus just set a new sales record, with more than 13 million units sold over the weekend, demonstrating continued robust demand for the high-priced smartphones, particularly in China. That number is at the high end of Wall Street estimates, which had projected anywhere from 10 million to 13 million units.
In comparison, Apple sold 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Pluses during its 2014 launch weekend, but that figure did not include sales in China, where the iPhone had not cleared regulatory approval.
“Sales for iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus have been phenomenal, blowing past any previous first-weekend sales results in Apple’s history,” said CEO Tim Cook, in a statement. “Customers’ feedback is incredible and they are loving 3D Touch and Live Photos, and we can’t wait to bring iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus to customers in even more countries on Oct. 9.”
Apple doesn’t break down iPhone sales by country in its earnings reports, but it’s clear that China is important to its growth. In Apple’s second 2015 fiscal quarter, China became the second highest revenue market for Apple. During that same period, iPhone saw sales grow 75 percent year over year in the country despite a downturn of 4 percent for other manufacturers, Cook announced during Apple’s September media event.
Driving’s Apple’s surge in China is the country’s burgeoning middle class and massive smartphone market -- an estimated 525.8 million smartphone owners, according to eMarketer. But explosive growth in China is cooling down. This year smartphone shipment growth in the country is expected to slow to 1.2 percent, down from 19.7 percent in 2014, according to IDC.
Taking China out of the equation, Apple saw only modest gains. “Assuming China accounted for about 2 million units of the opening weekend, it would imply organic units were up 10 percent,” wrote Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster in an investors note issued Monday. “If the trend continues, we expect modest (around 3 percent) upside to iPhone units over the next year.”
The next set of countries and markets to get the iPhone 6S on Oct. 9 include Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan.
On Oct. 10, Apple's smartphone will roll out to Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. On Oct. 16, it rolls out to India, Malaysia and Turkey. By the end of the year, the iPhone 6S will be available in more than 130 countries.
Apple will include iPhone 6S sales data from Saturday in its fourth-quarter earnings report, scheduled to be released in October. Sales on Sunday will be included in Apple's fiscal 2016 first-quarter earnings.