The iPhone 4S sold about 4 million units in the first three days of availability last year. The iPhone 4 sold about 1.7 million and iPhone 3GS about 1 million.
The main driver to growth for the initial weekend is usually upgrades for existing customers. There might be first time buyers, but the dedication required to ensure being first to have it usually means buyers are keen on the brand and are repeat customers.
The other factor is the number of countries where the phone is available. The 4 was initially available in 5 countries. The 4S in seven and now the 5 will be in nine countries. I made a list of the differences in launch countries for the 4S and the 5 below:
I’ve also listed the second week launch countries for completeness and shown which countries have changed.
The performance of the 5 in the first weekend should be better on a volume basis simply because there are more existing customers who wish to upgrade and because there are more initial and significant launch countries.
The 4S launched with an average of 1.3 million units per day but 191k units/day/country. The 4 launched with 113k units/day/country. If we assume that the 5 can capture 220k units/day/country we reach 2 million units/day for this launch footprint and a total of about 6 million units for the launch weekend.
These estimates are shown below relative the the other iPhone and the iPad launches.
The additional shipments to fulfill orders for the second week may see the iPhone 5 sell over 10 million units before the quarter is over.
- Hong Kong and Singapore are noteworthy initial launch additions, Poland a noteworthy second week addition and Mexico a noteworthy second week omission.