Having witnessed the ridiculous hype and initial demand for the iPhone here in the States, overseas iPhone carriers are going to have a hard time matching the feverish rate of US iPhone sales. But, that didn’t stop O2 from expecting to sell/activate upwards of 100,000 handsets during the O2 iPhone’s initial launch window.
So, how did O2 fare in their initial iPhone sales? Not as well as they would have liked, apparently. “Slow” would be one way to describe iPhone sales in the UK. The Register reports that initial iPhones sales figures have yet to break 30,000 units – with 26,500 iPhones having been activated in the two weeks since the iPhone’s launch on O2. Carphone Warehouse reported sales of 11,000 units over the launch weekend. And, an unnamed source told AppleInsider that the premier Apple Store in the UK, located on Regent Street, was still working to sell the entirety of their initial iPhone stock – which was shipped to the store prior to the iPhone’s UK launch on November 9. The Regent Street Apple Store has reportedly been selling a laggardly 100 iPhone handsets per day (compare that with the LG Shine that effectively sold more than 10,000 units worldwide for every day it was on the market this past year).
Even with an optimistic outlook, taking into account the fact that some iPhone stock may still be awaiting activation (as they wait to be gifted for the upcoming holidays), it seems unlikely that O2 will meet its sales goals by year’s end.
Part of the problem may lie in UK citizens’ reluctance to cough up £269 ($554) for a mobile phone – which is quite a steep price for a population used to getting handsets for free, or almost free, with activation/contract. While Brits are quite aware of the iPhone (the iPhone topped the GfK NOP ranking for brand awareness), with 78% of people associating the iPhone with music and 65% of people recognizing the iPhone’s email and internet capabilities, it’s just the higher-than-average price of the iPhone that’s going to keep it from replicating the US iPhone’s success in the UK. Keep in mind that many iPhone-bashers in the US cited the original $599 price-tag as the main reason that they predicted the iPhone launch would flop.
Are most Brits just waiting for the iPhone v2.0? We know we sure as hell are. All those missing hardware features and EDGE-only (although web surfing is still a much more pleasing experience than most 3G phones we’ve used) support might be keeping the iPhone from taking the UK by storm. Would we be singing a different tune if Apple had decided to simultaneously launch the iPhone around the globe? It’s quite possible that many people are just plain tired of hearing about the iPhone already. Regardless, we love our iPhone, so bully to you, O2.