Barclays: Improving battery replacement wait times could cannibalize iPhone sales

Barclays is out today with its latest analyst note which includes wait times for iPhone battery replacements appear to be declining. While this is good news for customers, the firm describes how this could potentially negatively affect Apple.

Over the last week, Barclays’ Mark Moskowitz and company reached out to 30 Apple Stores in the US to learn more about battery replacement wait times. The note says that wait times last month were averaging between 4-6 weeks, with the average now between 2-4.5 weeks. Barclays believes battery availability and wait times will only continue to improve.

While this is great news for customers wanting to swap out their iPhone battery, the report says there could be some downsides for Apple. First, increasing replacement availability could mean fewer iPhone sales. Secondly, the average selling price for iPhones could drop.

Barclays notes that all of this is up in the air for now as all eyes are on how iPhone sales will perform for Apple’s 2018 Q2. One of the concerns is that the battery replacement program wasn’t in full swing for most of Apple’s holiday quarter, and that the increase in replacements and the naturally slower January-March sales quarter could prove weak for iPhone.

The firm previously estimated that the battery replacement program could cost Apple up to 16M iPhone sales. Barclays now rates AAPL at neutral with a target price of $170. Apple’s stock is currently trading at around $160.

With the latest iOS 11.3 beta, Apple has released the option for users to disable battery performance throttling. The company is also considering refunding customers who paid the full $79 for battery replacements.

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