iPhone 8 sales sluggish as users await iPhone X: Wave7

Apple iPhone 8 (Apple)
The pending launch of the iPhone X appears to be shackling sales of the iPhone 8, Wave7 said.

Sales of the iPhone 8 have been sluggish as customers await the launch of the highly anticipated iPhone X, according to a new report from Wave7 Research.

Apple introduced both new handsets during a high-profile media event last month, but the iPhone 8 launched three weeks ago while the iPhone X—which will feature a significant redesign and a price tag starting at roughly $1,000—won’t come to market for another couple weeks. Bloomberg reported late last week that AT&T posted a dip in smartphone upgrades during the third quarter, which could be an indication sales of the iPhone 8 are lagging.

Wave7 confirmed sluggish sales of the phone, attributing the trend to the pending release of the iPhone X.

“iPhone share, as expected, is up at all carriers in October, but by less than would be expected, likely meaning that many are waiting for the iPhone X,” Wave7 wrote in a note to subscribers. “Reps who perceive lower sales routinely blamed the iPhone X for the decline.”

Both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are in stock online ‘’or nearly so at all carriers,” Wave7 added, although a handful of stores were out of the 256 GB iPhone 8 Plus. Both models are available at most brick-and-mortar locations, the market research firm said, “but which SKU is available at which store ‘is hit and miss.’”

The slow sales are likely also related to a lack of carrier promotions for Apple’s new phone, though. While network operators have traditionally been quick to offer compelling deals to leverage new Apple phones, analysts agree they have toned down their promotions this year even as the holiday season approaches.

“Following the much-anticipated iPhone release, we have yet to see the flurry of promotional activity that accompanied prior launches,” Jefferies analysts noted a few weeks ago. “In an effort to gain subscribers in a highly competitive market, promotions for new devices have become a desperate attempt to maintain/gain net adds. We are pleased to see more rationality in the marketplace than last year, where subsidies for free or discounted devices heavily weighed on margins. While the release of new devices will drive higher upgrades in 2H, we expect adoption of EIP has driven customers to hold onto phones longer; this will likely drive lower upgrade rates than seen in historical iconic device launches.”

The looming question, of course, is whether carriers will move more aggressively to capitalize on the release of the iPhone X in a few weeks.