Apple’s colorful, plastic iPhone 5C has a big problem: So far, not so many people want it.
In fact, demand for the 5C has been so low compared to the 5S that Apple has reduced fourth quarter orders for the device by roughly 20 percent, Reuters reports.
How big is the sales gap? Since the two devices launched last month, the iPhone 5S has outsold the 5C by two-to-one, according to a recent report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Previous data from Localytics said largely the same thing: The iPhone 5S is outselling iPhone 5C by up to 500 percent.
There have been other signs of this as well. Last week, Best Buy halved the on-contract price of the iPhone 5C to $50, a sizable and surprising discount for a device that was released only a few weeks ago. And Best Buy wasn’t alone: Both Target and Walmart also cut their on-contract iPhone 5C asking prices to $80.
Above: The early adopter’s dream.
The “why” here should be fairly clear: While Apple has made a point of marketing the iPhone 5C over its counterpart (just click over to Apple’s website), the reality is that early adopters tend to flock towards the high-end of the smartphone spectrum, not the low-end. With its plastic exterior and now-aged components, the iPhone 5C just can’t compare specs-wise to the iPhone 5S, which has the very sort of bells and whistles iPhone fanatics drool over.
In other words, people weren’t lining up for hours to buy a phone that they pretty much already had.
Which leads us to the silver lining here: Apple may be cutting orders for the 5C, but it’s also increasing those for the 5S, as The Wall Street Journal reports.
Still, none of this means we won’t see a holiday surge for the iPhone 5C, especially as the 5S early adopter market saturates and parents start picking up the 5C for their kids.
In fact, that might be the most peculiar thing about the rumored cuts: iPhone 5C sales may be sluggish so far, but who’s to say they’re going to stay that way for much longer?
Both Reuters and The Wall Street Journal fail to mention that Apple also pulled a similar move with the iPhone 5, whose sales were also not ”as strong as anticipated” shortly after launch.
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