Apple’s iPhone 6 may have outsold the larger 5.5-in. iPhone 6 Plus by eight to one in North America, according to early analysis of online traffic.
Online ad network Chitika said that by Sunday the iPhone 6 — with a 4.7-in. display, the smaller of the two new models — accounted for 1.6% of all iPhone traffic in the U.S. and Canada.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 6 Plus’s share of all iPhone traffic was just 0.2%.
Chitika mined logs of the devices that accessed its advertising network to come up with the numbers.
While the data may represent the established user base, that’s no guarantee, as the traffic analysis does not track individual devices but instead the activity of owners on Chitika’s network. In that way, it’s akin to the kind of “usage share” measured by Web analytics firm StatCounter.
But the eight-to-one advantage for the iPhone 6 fits the availability situation: The iPhone 6 Plus is in extremely short supply. Inventory that Apple held for pre-sales of the larger model was quickly exhausted on Sept. 12 when sales started, while the smaller iPhone 6 was available for delivery on Sept. 19 for hours longer.
Additionally, Apple is not yet selling either model in the People’s Republic of China, the market where many expect the iPhone 6 Plus to do landmark business because of consumers’ appetite there for bigger screens on their smartphones.
Another mobile metrics company, Fiksu, showed similar numbers for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, with the former accounting for 1.76% of all iPhones and the latter 0.26% at the same post-sales point where Chitika ended its calculations. Fiksu, then, called the iPhone 6 a 7:1 favorite.
Currently, both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are sold out, according to Apple’s online store. However, the shipping delay for the former is just 7 to 10 business days, considerably shorter than the lag of the iPhone 6 Plus, which on Monday remained at three to four weeks.
On Friday, when the new iPhones went on sale nationwide, carrier stores had few if any iPhone 6 Plus units to sell, frustrating customers who had waited in line only to be told that only the iPhone 6 was available when stores opened their doors.
Chitika argued that the iPhone 6 Plus’s smaller share of all iPhones could also have been due to its “niche appeal” in North America.
Before sales began, analysts had debated what portion of total sales would be attributed to the iPhone 6 Plus, with some changing their forecasts to bet that while the breakdown would still favor the smaller, less expensive iPhone 6, the Plus might be a bigger seller than anyone had believed earlier.
Apple never discloses sales of individual iPhone models, but both industry and Wall Street analysts expect to see clues about the Plus’s sales in the ASP, or “average selling price,” of iPhones overall when the Cupertino, Calif. company releases its September quarter earnings report next month, and more importantly, its December quarter financials in January 2015.
Chitika compared the share data for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and found both wanting in relation to the faster share increase by 2012’s iPhone 5, which within three days accounted for 2.7% of all iPhones.
The company used the iPhone 5 rather than last year’s 5S because the former was the last screen size change in Apple’s line. (Chitika parses screen resolution to segment the iPhone 6 from the iPhone 6 Plus; the iPhone 5S and 5C, which share display resolution with the iPhone 5, are thus all categorized as “iPhone 5.”)
“While we did track the growth of all iPhone 5-type models following the release of the 5S and 5C, the observed growth may be muddled by some original iPhone 5 users jumping to the 2013 devices,” said Andrew Waber of Chitika in an email reply to questions. “That being said, directly following the launch of the 5S and 5C, the share of iPhone traffic coming from iPhone 5-type models went up by roughly 0.3% over the same post-launch time frame, before growing more substantially about one week after.”
Together, the iPhone 6’s and 6 Plus’s share amounted to 1.8% of all iPhones by Sunday, or 33% lower than the 2012 iPhone 5 at the same point in its post-sale trajectory.