Second investment firm predicts that iPhone sales will decline year-on-year next quarter


Betting against Apple hasn’t been a successful endeavor of late but all of a sudden, declining holiday iPhone numbers seem to be in vogue.

Tech investment company Pacific Crest has echoed KGI’s prediction that year-on-year iPhone sales are likely to decline following the launch of the iPhone 6S, but says that investors shouldn’t be concerned.

We believe iPhone 6/+ models drove abnormally high share gains and upgrade rates that are likely to moderate somewhat in the 6s cycle, which is likely to drive total iPhone units down year-on-year in the first part of financial year 2016 (Q4 of calendar 2015) …

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The forecast was reported in a tweet by Business Insider‘s Jay Yarow.

The company says that its forecast is supported by the results of its checks with component suppliers, which show reduced demand.

It says that it does not believe that the iPhone will lose sales to competitors, but will simply fail to benefit from the boost to sales it saw when it first launched the iPhone 6. In other words, there was large pent-up demand last time for larger-screened devices, and that additional demand won’t be a factor this time around.

Pacific Crest said back in June that was anticipating “slower sequential growth” in December, but now anticipates an actual decline in sales. The company’s earlier prediction of Q3 iPhone sales of 46.8M was almost spot-on, though the June piece described a “potential” of 50-52M sales.

KGI last week also predicted zero or negative growth for the next iPhone, citing both the weak Chinese economy and likely limited appeal of Force Touch as a headline feature.


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  1. borntofeel - 7 years ago

    This only shows once again how useless these analysts are. No need to be an analyst to see that in China every person who wanted an iPhone has one and the next launch won’t be as big, even if it still will be huge.
    Had they made this prediction two years ago it would have been a better indicator that they actually do analysis.

    • yojimbo007 - 7 years ago

      Really..? And yet only 27% of iphone owners have upgraded to 6 or 6 plus… That leaves 73%!
      Add on top migrants from android and new buyers !
      And your china comment …well how should i say this…….is a bit Uninformormed !?

  2. rwanderman - 7 years ago

    It will be interesting to see what the affect of the carrier’s new pricing plans for phones have on this. Separating cell contracts from phone buying is a good thing as it will allow folks to upgrade on a shorter schedule instead of feeling like they have to wait the two years to avoid the buyout costs.

    I’ve been upgrading on a 2 year cycle and probably will continue to do that independent of this change. My wife and I are due for new phones this fall (we’re on the “tock” cycle) but this time I’ll either buy the phones outright or buy them on a 1 year lease-to-buy plan so we have the option to upgrade sooner if we choose to.

  3. Ilko Sarafski - 7 years ago

    Somehow I still believe that the 6S will beat its predecessor. There are so many people who are upgrading from older device, switchers, first-comers, and eventually – 6 to 6S maniacs. :D China is growing, India and few other big markets, too. Eh, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. When the results pop up, we’ll be here again, discussing it all over again! :)

  4. Ilko Sarafski - 7 years ago

    Hey Ben, what do you think about the KGI’s and others’ analyses? I am always curious (and I bet I am not alone here) to hear your personal opinion on the matter. Thanks in advance!

  5. If Apple really ordered 90M iPhones to be made, they will sell them with no doubt. Apple has better analysts than these ‘get us readers’ analysts who actually make no analysis.

  6. Robert Dupuy - 7 years ago

    I agree with the analysts.

    The iPhone 6S does sound like a quality phone so far. Extra CPU, RAM, higher storage tiers, better camera – possibly higher resolution screen on the 6S Plus.

    Don’t care about force touch, but iOS 9 is great- yes it also available for previous models but so what, it’s still coming on the phone.

    All these things make the 6s a quality upgrade for previous iPhone owners and Android switchers.

    However, Apple still has a base of owners that want a smaller screen, and if Apple is punting on that, which is classic Apple, then they aren’t firing on all cylinders.

    The analysts just know that the economy is borking in China, and the U.S. market is phasing away from subsidies – so the headwinds are against Apple, and without apple firing on all cylinders and without anything coming way out of left field as a complete surprise- Apple is going to struggle.

    Now maybe they surprise us with a price drop – that’d be awesome, but very un-Apple.

  7. Chandler (@piacere2327) - 7 years ago

    My guess is, they sell about the same or a bit more than last year’s quarter – which is probably what Apple forcasts. The only people who are looking for a special “feature” to upgrade are those, who are upgrading every year. Who ever owns a different smartphone or an older iPhone will not think “oh, I’m not sure if ForceTouch is enough for me to upgrade”. They could sell the 6s just with a bit more speed and “outsiders” would still buy it, because it’s big in the media and it’s just “the new iPhone”. People get excited about that. Siri or TouchID have been good reasons for fanatics who always need the latest and coolest. And they buy it anyways :)

  8. Robert Dupuy - 7 years ago

    oh I meant to add – likely awesome -blows you away, battery life is going to really be a seller to iPhone 5s users

    But 90 million – meh, its a stretch.

    Anyway isn’t the 90 million figure a rumor too? So, it’s fine to dismiss it.

  9. jkruehne - 7 years ago

    growth, growth, always growth – how I like those ideas :D
    – couldn’t a company be successful even with a down graph in its portfolio …

  10. macnificentseven48 - 7 years ago

    These people always have to put in their useless two cents about Apple. Whatever happened to analysts that only used to make yearly analysis? Now they make quarterly analysis when most companies don’t change that rapidly. Every quarter it seems some analyst says Apple’s coming quarter is always going to be worse. Yet there’s some firm claiming Tesla’s share price will double relatively soon. This is despite Elon Musk saying that Tesla’s shares are being valued fairly. I don’t see why these analysts don’t keep their mouths closed and let investors decide for themselves. I’m sick of listening to them always claim how Apple will be hit the hardest no matter what the change in the economy. It’s up to the consumer to decide whether they want to upgrade their older iPhones and there’s no way to tell that number in advance. For all we know it could be higher than expected instead of lower. From what Tim Cook is saying there are a lot of iPhone owners left (73%) who may decide to upgrade.

  11. rogifan - 7 years ago

    Pacific Crest? Haha they’ve been bearish on Apple for a long time now. Perhaps why Apple stock is actually up this morning even though the market overall is down.

  12. Ilko Sarafski - 7 years ago

    @Robert Dupuy,
    As was already said, if Apple is doing 90m (which could be a rumour indeed, as you said), then their analyses are that they will sell approximately 90m. Besides, don’t fool yourselves that China is having bad time. Uh, or at least the majority (and I mean 99% here) of the mid-to-high class. Yes, China as a country maybe has some troubles, yet more and more people are getting rich every freaking second… So, no, China won’t see decline in sales regarding the iPhone. Also, they are hungry for the latest. To have an iPhone in China (or Eastern Europe, South America, Africa) is much more than just having a cellphone. So, no, China isn’t going to be a problem for sure. They’ll still have better sales there. Additionally, both Western Europe (European Union, too) and USA are slowly getting out of the crisis. Believe it or not, that will help in some way.
    P.S. Imagine their promotion – DOUBLE RAM, 30% more speed on the CPU, 50% MORE pixels on the camera… that what sells, not the Force Touch/Siri/etc… :)
    P.S. 2 – I would love to see storage upgrade. At least 32/64/128… But I guess we’ll see such thing with the 7. Because 32 would eat 64’s share. With 7 they might even go even further – 32/128/256? Who knows…

  13. Howie Isaacks - 7 years ago

    I think Apple will surprise them.

  14. Don Horne (@DonHorne) - 7 years ago

    Seems every time Apple gets close to announcing a new phone we hear the same thing from analysts and their predictions are worse than the local meteorologist.

  15. patstar5 - 7 years ago

    Well with att being the only one left to get rid of 2 year contracts, Apple’s time in the u.s is over. The $200 iPhone will become a thing of the past as the true $650-$950 price is revealed. Their doom is coming! This is so exciting, I need some popcorn! This will be fun to watch!

  16. Daniel Jacoby - 7 years ago

    Okay, scratch that – where can i find those two wallpapers ^^ ?


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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