Tech For iPhone 8 to succeed, Apple must buck history (AAPL)

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The global smartphone market has stopped growing, and Apple has only once out-performed the market.

Apple CEO Tim Cook stands in front of a MacBook display in San Francisco. play

Apple CEO Tim Cook stands in front of a MacBook display in San Francisco.

(Stephen Lam/Getty Images)
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For iPhone 8 to be regarded as a success, Apple must do something it has only ever done once before: Grow its sales faster than the market as a whole and take market share from other companies.

Historically, Apple's phones have only ever sold to about 15% of all users globally. They are expensive, and Apple has creamed off the high-end users and the profits that go with them.

That has not been a problem — until the last year or so. When the market was growing Apple got 15% of that growth and grew with the market. Now, however, the market has stopped growing. Everyone who wants a phone now has one. So Apple has a different sales problem in front of it than the one it is used to.

These charts illustrate how Apple is boxed-in at a price-point in the market that may make iPhone 8 look like a failure.

Half of all phones sold are priced at $200 or less, globally. About 85% of all phones are under $500.

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(Deutsche Bank)

Apple has kept the average selling price (ASP) of iPhone between $600 and $700. But in the market as a whole, the average price is now under $300 and falling. The rumour is that the new iPhone might cost more than $1,000.

As time goes by, iPhones look less and less like value for money.

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(Deutsche Bank)

None of this would be a problem if Apple could grow iPhone sales. But recently, the "installed base" of users is hardly growing, according to Deutsche Bank.

And now the global market for phones as a whole has stopped growing.

This is Apple's biggest problem: Any company that wants to grow sales must grow market share.

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(Deutsche Bank)

But growth in Apple's phone sales has always underperformed the market as a whole, with the exception of the iPhone 6 cycle.

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(Deutsche Bank)

For iPhone 8 to be regarded as a success, it must actually add new iPhone sales — something Apple hasn't meaningfully done since 2015.