Retailers Get the Short End of the iPhone 5
This story sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Apple launches a new iPhone. People go crazy to get it, and demand outweighs supply. Supply shortages are particularly noticeable in stores and websites of companies not owned by Apple.
Days after officially rolling out its iPhone 5, it appears that demand for Apple’s new phone may be even greater than expected. Apple announced that it sold five million units of the new iPhone since it launched last Friday. JPMorgan Chase has forecast sales of eight million iPhone 5s by the end of the year.
Many non-Apple stores ran out of stock almost as soon as they opened as chains such as Best Buy got as few as 10 iPhone 5 units on launch day, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The consumer electronics retailer sent an email from senior VP Shawn Score to customers who had preordered the phone to let them know: "It could take as long as 28 days to find the iPhone you want."
Best Buy was not alone in experiencing shortages as RadioShack, Sprint, Target and others ran out as well. While it may be easy to conclude that Apple shorted resellers of its iPhone, Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee, told the Journal that the explanation for out-of-stocks may be in store count numbers. Apple operates 249 locations in the U.S. while its partners have thousands of stores.
While not seen as immediate and direct a threat to retailers as is Amazon.com, decisions by chains such as Target and Walmart to delist the Kindle raises the question if retailers will eventually follow a similar path with Apple products.
- Apple’s iPhone 5 may buoy weak economy this fall – USA Today
- Apple Gave Few Phones to Other Retailers – The Wall Street Journal
What is your take on the shortage of iPhone 5 units in stores not operated by Apple? Will short supplies damage relations between the parties?