September 24, 2013

China Leads the Pack in Preference For iPhone 5s Over 5c


After some pretty extensive analysis of the iPhone 5s versus 5c within the first 48 hours after launch that we reported yesterday, we wanted to drill a bit further into the global distribution of the new iPhones looking at new data after 72 hours post launch.

Perhaps surprising was that of the eight countries where the most iPhone 5s’ or 5c’s were sold, the highest ratio of preference for the 5s wasn’t in the United States or Japan; leading the pack is actually China.

iPhone 5s vs 5c by Country

One possible explanation: there was a lot of hoopla around the addition of the gold-colored iPhone 5s as a very attractive addition in particular for Asian markets so this hypothesis may hold true. Keep in mind the gold-colored version is only available on the 5s, not the 5c.

Other major markets also had a very high ratio of the 5s vs. the 5c. In fact, the only country that didn’t have at least a 3 to 1 ratio of the 5s vs. the 5c was the United Kingdom. With the economy in the UK still in recovery, a slightly less strong affinity for the 5s could be the result of a more cost-conscious buyer. Subsidies also play less of a role in the UK’s phone market than in the US, making the upfront cost of phones higher for consumers. Globally the iPhone 5s represented 78% of all of the new iPhone 5s and 5c devices; 76% in the U.S. and 82% in the rest of the world.

 iPhone 5s vs 5c Distribution by Region

 One possible reason why more iPhone 5s’ were sold was because of the tendency of hardcore apple users wanting to buy the top of the line iPhone on the weekend it was released. It will be interesting to see if the 5c can pick up a bit of momentum in the next few weeks.

iPhone 5s & 5c Adoption by Country

Overall, the United States accounts for 68% of all active iPhone 5s and 5c devices worldwide, with Japan in second place with 13% of 5s and 5c’s.

iPhone 5s and 5c Global Market Share by Country


Localytics is the leading analytics and marketing platform for mobile and web apps across more than 1 billion devices, 20,000 apps and 5,000 customers. Localytics processes 50 billion data points monthly. For this study, we examined over 20 million unique iPhones and investigated the breakdowns by country. The timeframe for this study is all active iPhones from when the iPhone 5s and 5c were first released on September 20th, 2013 until Monday September 23rd, 2013.


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  • John

    on the second figure it is 28% vs 72% not 82%.

  • Bernd Leger

    Thanks for pointing out the error, the correct number is 18% and 82%, fixed the chart.

  • blese

    It’s simple. The price difference between the 5S and 5C is smaller in China than in other markets. Chinese consumers are generally ticked off that C does not stand for cheap (more like “cheat”). It’s overpriced in the China market when they were expecting a much more price-competitive phone. Double whammy. And yeah, the 5S is gold, which helps with “face”.

  • Scott Falkner

    It appears the data for this article came from analyzing web traffic and concluded that, since more sites were visited using the iPhone 5S than the 5C, there were more uses sold.

    This is the wrong conclusion to reach and assumes that users of both phones use them the same. It seems more likely to me that buyers of the more expensive phone are likely to use it more often than buyers of the less expensive phone. All we can really glean from the data is that more sites are visited using iPhone 5Ses than iPhone 5Cs.

  • Brad

    Shouldn’t the % active iphone bar chart sum to 100% (or 1) and not 1%?

  • Mariano Molina

    Fix the 3rd graph!

  • Dean

    The reason for the 5S outselling the 5C so widely here in Australia is quite simple.

    Unlike in the US, where new iPhones on contract involve an upfront cost (say, $99 or $199), phones on contract in Australia tend to be sold at $0 upfront. The device is paid off over the course of the contract (and is usually partly subsidised by the phone plan).

    I’ll provide an example with one provider here and a plan they offer which is normally $65AUD per month. For a 16GB 5C on contract, it’s another $2AUD a month on top of the $65AUD plan (so $67AUD a month total). For the 16GB 5S (which is $130AUD more outright), it’s $7AUD a month on top of the $65AUD plan (so $72AUD a month total).

    Over the course of a two year contract, the price difference between the 5C and the equivalent 5S is not even the cost of two cups of coffee a month. May as well get the more future-proof device.

  • Helpoemar

    “With the economy in the UK still in recovery, a slightly less strong affinity for the 5s could be the result of a more cost-conscious buyer.” No, it’s because the 5S is completely out of its (more limited than others) stock here.