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Kenyans order more iPhones than Apple can deliver

Microensure’s Adeline Onyango and Airtel’s Charles Wanjohi take a selfie with an iPhone 6 Plus/CFM BUSINESS

Microensure’s Adeline Onyango and Airtel’s Charles Wanjohi take a selfie with an iPhone 6 Plus/CFM FILE BUSINESS

The appetite for Apple products in Kenya is growing at a much faster rate than the company can satisfy. According to figures from mobile operators and resellers, the demand for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in Kenya is way above what Apple can deliver.

Orders in Kenya for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in October was 1000 units but Apple delivered 700 units with Safaricom getting 70 percent of the orders. The rest of the units were shared between other operators and resellers.

“Authorized Apple resellers only got 7 percent of what the country ordered,” says Michelle Abuya, Business Development Manager, Salute iWorld.

Salute iWorld officially started selling the new iPhones last week and have seen most of their stock pre-ordered by customers.

Safaricom remains the largest reseller of iPhones with 120,000 subscribers owning iPhones, Airtel and Orange have 5,000 and 2,000 subscribers using iPhones respectively.

But Apple’s supply-demand problem is not unique to Kenya. Speaking at the company’s conference in October, CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that the company has a demand – supply issue, saying supply and demand for the iPhone aren’t “on the same planet”.

“As of today and the end of the quarter, we’re not nearly fast enough in getting the iPhone 6 and larger iPhone 6 Plus into customers hands,” Cook said.

Although Apple had not shown particular interest in the African market, recent moves to authorize more resellers in the region and the inclusion of five African countries in Apple’s App store is an indication the company is keen to expand in the region.

Apple responded to the unexpected demand for the iPhone by adjusting its sales forecast for the December quarter to upto $66.5 billion.

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