Apple's new iPhone SE failed to attract the crazy lines and fevered "gotta-get" attitude among US consumers when it went on sale March 31, according to an analyst report from Piper Jaffray.
Overseas, a different story may be brewing.
In spot checks across 100 Apple Stores in the US, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster found the iPhone SE launch on Thursday did not attract the typical lines snaking outside the door and down the block. Perhaps more alarming for Apple, the stores Munster visited had 90% availability of inventory, according to his report, which was emailed to InformationWeek.
"We view the both the lack of lines and the high level of product availability as in line with expectations, reinforcing our view that the SE will be largely incremental to the model in replacing the low-end iPhone 5S," Munster stated in his report.
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The analyst checked stores in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Minneapolis for availability of the Space Gray iPhone SE with 16GB of memory. He also visited stores to inquire about demand for the iPhone SE in other colors, but ended up with similar tales about lackluster interest.
Although slow sales are never good for any manufacturer, it appears Apple may have been bracing for the worst. Apple CEO Tim Cook noted during the company's first quarter earnings report that iPhone unit shipments may decline in the second quarter.
Apple's iPhone shipment growth wasn't all that impressive in the first quarter, either. The company sold 74.8 million iPhones in the first quarter, an all-time record but barely a blip above its previous quarter of 74.5 million shipments.
Overseas, though, demand appears to be high, particularly in India and Australia, and to a lesser degree in China. That may bode well for Apple, which earns two thirds of its revenues from sales outside the US.
When Apple unveiled its iPhone SE on March 21, traffic to its websites worldwide averaged an 83% increase from the previous day, according to a 9to5Mac report. However, one-day traffic to its India site rose 160% from the previous day, while its China site jumped 150%.
In Australia, demand was incredibly strong, according to users' comments posted in an iPhone forum on MacRumors. "Dropped by the Apple store to … get the SE, but they're sold out. Every store in Sydney is apparently," said user gladoscc in a MacRumors forum post.
Another user, 2ilent8cho, said, "Just checked in the UK for all the Apple stores around me, yesterday they were all available for pickup, not today all showing unavailable and online order shipments are going to the 21st April for 64GB space gray."
Although analyst Munster did not view the iPhone SE a huge hit for Apple, he still is not giving up on the company. "[Apple] remains our top pick as we approach [the Worldwide Developers Conference] in June and the iPhone 7 launch in September," Munster said in his report.