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iPhone SE looks like a flop – Find out why it’s actually a success story

by Todd Haselton | March 31, 2016March 31, 2016 7:20 am PST

New data suggests that the iPhone SE will be a success story for Apple, but only if you’ve been paying attention to the company’s global strategy. Otherwise, it looks like an early flop.

Data published by SimilarWeb on Wednesday suggests that desktop traffic to Apple’s website following the launch of the iPhone SE on March 21 was down… way down compared to previous launches. The analytics firm said daily traffic only increased 83 percent over a normal day on Apple.com, while other launches saw much higher traffic increases.

Sounds like a bust, right? Not really.

SimilarWeb is comparing the iPhone launch to those of actual flagships, including the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in September 2015 and the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September 2014. The iPhone SE isn’t a flagship, but a very strategic move into lower-price markets such as China and India, and early signs indicated it’s going to be popular in those markets.

SimilarWeb found that “Apple saw a one-day traffic increase of 160-percent from India and 150-percent in India,” that’s nearly the same kind of traffic spike of 195-percent that Apple saw after it announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, two huge new phones that have been incredibly successful for the company. If it’s any indication, it looks like markets in China and India are extremely excited for both phones, and that’s what Apple wants.

SimilarWeb warned, however, that those increases in traffic, while large, aren’t as big as they were for Apple’s new phone launches in 2015 and 2014 in both markets. Considering China is far and away the largest smartphone market in the globe, however, any big spike in traffic toward Apple’s products is a good sign.

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iPhone SE sees lowest one-day traffic to Apple site for recent launches but soaring visits from India and China

London 30 March 2016: Apple’s launch of its new cheaper iPhone SE on March 21 generated an 83% rise in worldwide traffic to the company’s website, the lowest one day traffic rise for a new product launch in the past three years, according to digital intelligence firm SimilarWeb.

The SimilarWeb analysis looked at surges of traffic to Apple.com’s visits at the last three product launches, based on visits via desktop, which makes up around two-thirds of worldwide of visits to the site.

SimilarWeb found that the latest launch event saw visits to the Apple site increase from 11.7 million visits on March 20, to 21.5 million visits on the launch date.

This was lower in terms of growth and visits than the previous launch on 9 September 2015, which saw an 87% one-day increase, with traffic increasing to the site from 13.2 million to 24.7million, as the 6s and 6s Plus was unveiled.

However, both of these launches were dwarfed by the traffic peak at the launch of the iPhone 6 on September 9 2014, which saw a 159% (195%) increase, rising from 17.49 million to 51.5 million in one day.

The March 21 2016 launch however gave Apple above average traffic in two key target markets key to its cheaper smartphone strategy: India and China. In contrast to the average worldwide traffic rise of 83%, Apple saw a one-day traffic increase of 160% from India and 150% in China.

In India, this was higher than the 59% one-day increase at the 2015 launch, but not as significant as the 186% rise in one-day traffic in 2014. In China, last week’s one-day traffic rise – while higher than most other countries – still represented lower levels of interest than the 155% one-day increase at the 2015 launch, and the 234% growth for the launch of the iPhone6.

Worldwide traffic at Apple’s past 3 launches

March 21 2016: iPhone SE

March 20 visits: 11.7 million

March 21 visits 21.5m

83% increase

 

September 9 2015

September 8 2015: 13.2 million

September 9 2015: 24.7 million

87% increase

 

September 9 2014

September 8 2014 17.49m

September 9 2014 51.53m

195% increase

About SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is a global cross-device market intelligence company used by 100,000s of businesses worldwide, including Google, eBay, Nike, and United Airlines, to discover, decide and deploy their digital strategy. SimilarWeb was recognized in 2015 as one of Europe’s top 100 fastest growing companies by Red Herring, was selected by Wired Magazine as one of the hottest 100 start-ups in Europe, and was named by Business Insider as one of the 50 enterprise startups to bet your career on in 2016.

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SimilarWeb

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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