Happy Birthday iPhone

Where were you when Steve Jobs pulled the first iPhone out of his pocket on June 29, 2007? For many, including future historians of the digital age, that day marks a turning point in mobile communication and handheld technology. For anyone under the age of 25 it’s impossible to remember life without smart phones. Believe it or not, people used to walk, ride bikes, drive cars with their heads up, looking at the world around them instead of staring into the universe displayed on a palm-sized screen.

Rumors have been circulating for months about the iPhone 8 iterations expected to debut later this year along with a souped-up 10th anniversary special edition. Customers will probably once again camp outside stores for the bragging rights to be among the first to buy the newest model.

Seethu Seetharaman

Seethu Seetharaman, W. Patrick McGinnis Professor of Marketing at Olin uses iPhone sales data in his Data Analysis for Brand Management class. “I have used sales data for the years since the iPhone was launched to teach students how to forecast future sales. I use a new product diffusion model called the Bass Model to do this.”

Seetharaman, who is also Director of the Center for Customer Analytics & Big Data (CCABD) and Academic Director for the Master of Science in Customer Analytics (MSCA) program, points to the data that show iPhone sales increased from $19.3b in 2006 to $215.6 in 2010. That’s an 11X increase.

“The iPhone has been a disrupter like no other,” explains Seetharaman. “It has not just hurt traditional phones (i.e., competitors within the same category), but has destroyed at least four other product categories in a decade’s time!”

Seetharaman shares more data from 2006-2016 as proof of the products left behind in the wake of the iPhone’s success:

  • Digital camera sales fell by 66%
  • MP3 player sales fell by 87%
  • Portal Navigation Systems sales fell by 80%
  • Camcorder sales fell by 93%

Carol Johanek

Carol Johanek, Olin Adjunct Professor of Marketing, says building customer loyalty has been a key to Apple’s success:
“Apple has excelled in building loyalty for its overall brand by continuously understanding the changing preferences of its core customers and adapting its platform to laptops, tablets, smart phones and online music over the years. Their excellence in customer service and allowing for an easy transition into upgrades has enabled the brand to achieve a strong retention among its customer base.”

Craving iPhone trivia? Here are a few sources:

  • In July 2016, CEO Tim Cook announced Apple had sold the billionth iPhone.
  • Currently, there are more than 700 million iPhones in use worldwide. That’s according to an estimate from BMO Capital Markets which includes more than 200 million second-hand iPhones.  Source: Fortune
  • Why is 9:41 always the time displayed on Apple devices in marketing materials? Link to answer.
  • 60 amazing iPhone facts & stats
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