Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Chart of the day: Has Apple run out of wealthy iPhone customers?

October 7, 2013: 11:22 AM ET

Not yet, says Toni Sacconaghi, but the end may be in sight.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge. Note the shrinking black bar that represents first-time buyers.

FORTUNE -- Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi produced the chart above for a report out Monday that raises what is, for Apple (AAPL), an existential question:

Are There Enough Wealthy People in the World to Sustain iPhone Unit Growth?

Note that the black bars in the chart that represent first-time buyers are shrinking.

Sacconaghi's conclusion: Barring a signed contract with China Mobile (CHL) or an iPhone priced to sell to the developing world, there is, he writes, "a slim margin of error that Apple will attract sufficient first-time iPhone buyers going forward to meet consensus forecasts for FY14 and FY15."

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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