While it is usually a good idea to take any number that an analyst gives you and cut it by half, this statistic from Brian Marshall with Gleacher & Company struck a chord: the majority of the iPhone’s sales are not in its home market. In fact, 80% will not be sold in the United States according to the man.
Of course, you might say, to think otherwise would be to ridiculous. But when you use the 80% number, the United States becomes an effective tool to measure global hype around the most recent iPhone launch. With the US accounting for (according to our analyst) one fifth of total sales, you can multiply any US number by 5 to get the global tally.
Did 35,000 people around the US wait in line for the iPhone 4 outside (to make something up), then 175,000 did around the world and so forth. Even more, if the US only accounts for 20% of total iPhone sales, it appears that the US is merely one pond where Apple fishes, and cannot be a focus then its sales allow; Apple has a whole world to serve.
And finally, if 80% of iPhone sales are international, then Apple just may deserve its market cap at the top (or near to it) as the most valuable technology company on the US stock exchanges, and in the world. If 80% is true, then Apple is not a US company at all, but world’s computer company, pushing the envelope around the globe.
The dark side of this talk then is to point out that we here in the United States are the only group locked into AT&T. 20% of the world’s iPhone users are stuck using a provider so bad, that even the most mundane phone functions are hit and miss. Anecdotally, does the 20/80-US/International number feel right?