Apple Shares Sink As iPhone 5 Sales Miss The Mark (AAPL)

Posted by · September 25, 2012 8:46 am

iPhone 5 Sales, Apple Shares

The good news: Less than two weeks since its big debut – and only three days since actually going on sale – iPhone 5 sales have already risen above the 5 million mark. The bad news: Analysts were expecting more from Apple.

Despite being a testament to the cult mentality of Apple’s consumer base – not to mention setting the record for phone sales in that amount of time – selling more than 5 million iPhone 5’s just wasn’t enough to set the new smartphone apart from the sales performance of its predecessor.

“The sales tally is a record for any phone,” writes Peter Svensson over at the Huffington Post, “but it beats last year’s iPhone 4S launch only by a small margin.”

As a result of such a “sub-par” performance (at least in the eyes of investors), Apple shares began to tumble as the news broke Monday morning, falling 1.33 percent as the market closed, leaving a share of Apple stock valued at a hardly meager $690.79.

However, as Svensson points out, what might at first be thought to be the cause of stunted sales (less demand than initially forecasted) may not have played such a prominent role at all. Speaking with Brian White, an analyst for Topeka Capital Markets, Svensson found that what actually kept iPhone 5 sales from soaring well above 6 million units in its opening weekend was a lack of sufficient supply.

“White said the phone was sold out at 80 to 85 percent of the U.S. Apple stores he and his team contacted Sunday evening, and the one that were still available were mostly Sprint models.”

Given the novelty status that the iPhone still holds among Verizon subscribers – combined with the sheer lack of phones at most Apple store locations at weekend’s end – it is reasonable to assume that a fair number of would-be iPhone 5 purchasers were simply turned away. As a result, Apple’s failure to more definitively outperform iPhone 4S sales numbers during its opening weekend wasn’t really a failure at all. At least not in the sense that consumers are losing interest in the iPhone as the smartphone of choice.

By inadequately supplying its retail locations, Apple stock did take what seems in hindsight to have been an avoidable hit – making for what was certainly a sad day for stockholders who had hoped to come out ahead after opening weekend. That said, the tough luck of one investor often means a perfect opportunity for another.

For more on iPhone 5 sales and reactions…