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IPhone: Marketing and Purchasing Decisions


The study of products made by Apple can reveal many interesting details about the smartphone market in general and the customer decision-making process in particular. One of the latest releases is the iPhone X, launched in the second half of 2017 (Simon 2017). After the concept for the new iPhone was revealed, the company undertook multiple steps to ensure not only successful sales but worldwide brand recognition.

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Throughout the years, Apple’s products have been leading the smartphone market (Capatina & Draghescu 2015). However, for its latest invention, the firm took a slightly different approach by focusing on the phone’s innovative and entertaining features and marketing. While the launches of previous iPhone models were based on similar concepts, the iPhone X’s case has some differences that should be pointed out. This report will analyze the marketing campaign for the iPhone X, using such marketing concepts as a product, production, and marketing orientation.

Literature Review

The use of marketing concepts for the product’s analysis allows the outlining of those specific strategies that a company chooses to follow to sell its products. For example, production orientation is a concept based on the belief that consumers are interested in buying the most affordable goods available on the market (Armstrong et al. 2014). This principle can be used by firms that try to develop cheap products and lower the costs in all possible areas of expense.

The next type is product orientation, where companies focus on the product’s unique or exciting features in order to show that their goods are of the highest quality and value possible (Armstrong et al. 2014). Here, the final product becomes the center of all the firm’s efforts. The third concept is marketing orientation, in which firms believe that a successful marketing campaign can drastically improve product sales (Armstrong et al. 2014). Finally, societal marketing is another concept that focuses on consumer’s needs and ethical considerations. All of these concepts can be used by a company in various proportions as they do not directly contradict each other.

Apple uses the concepts of product and marketing orientation for its latest smartphone, the iPhone X. The implementation of both ideas can be seen in the company’s marketing strategy prior to the phone’s launch. First of all, focus on the product is present in all campaigns of the firm, including its first and final launches. According to Capatina and Draghescu (2015), the iPhone was created with the intention of influencing customers’ perception of smartphones, especially their functionality, usability, and exclusivity. In fact, these phones’ advertising always tries to make them stand out in the market.

In the case of the iPhone X, multiple key features are fleshed out. First of all, the phone offers a screen that has no borders and takes up the entire surface of the phone’s front. Other features include Face ID and Animoji, as well as new camera effects (iPhone X 2017). Innovation, a typical area of concentration for Apple, is clearly visible in the marketing campaign which uses such phrases as “that vision is now a reality” and “say hello to the future” (iPhone X 2017, para. 1).

Another concept used by Apple focuses on active marketing. According to Simon (2017), the company pushed entertaining features of the phone for a reason, convincing customers to open discussions and share information about the new product. Apple gave popular reviewers a chance to use the iPhone X before the official launch and fleshed out its fun features in its advertisements (Image 1; Simon 2017). For example, during the first days after the start of sales, many videos and images with the use of Animoji appeared all over the Internet (Simon 2017). The weakness of this concept lies in the company’s focus on products and not on customer needs. People may not want the phone to have so many innovative features in exchange for such a high price.

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Here, the utilization of the marketing concept is apparent, as the company has clearly tried to attract new customers with creative marketing from not only Apple but the clients themselves. It is possible that this focus in marketing was used to compensate for the phone’s high price and create a strong and enticing advertising campaign. This approach may have worked well for the company, as its revenue from smartphone sales increased after the launch of the iPhone X although the number of sold phones decreased, suggesting that the expensive model was still popular (Table 1).

The strategy of companies, including Apple, is based on the consumer decision-making process. This model has five steps: “need recognition, information searches, alternative evaluation, purchase and post-purchase” (Wolny & Charoensuksai 2014, p. 319). The first step, need recognition, explains the way people decide that they need to purchase something. A product must convince a person that he or she needs it. Apple creates this sense of necessity by highlighting the unique and innovative features of the new phone.

For instance, the iPhone X has a Face ID that allows people to unlock their phones using their faces (iPhone X 2017). The company’s marketing presents this feature as an easy way of using one’s smartphone, appealing to the customers’ need for simplicity. This smartphone is also often compared to other products and is described as a “one of a kind” device, which corresponds with the third step, alternative evaluation. People often make purchases based on reviews, which is reflected in Apple’s advertising. A powerful online representation of iPhones through YouTube and other social media heavily influences purchasing decisions (Simon 2017).

Conclusions and Recommendations

The marketing strategy of Apple is based on highlighting the distinctive features of its products. The new iPhone X is marketed towards customers as an innovative experience that opens the door to the future of technology. The company uses product orientation by focusing on the smartphone’s unique features and marketing orientation by using different channels of information distribution. These concepts are utilized to appeal to clients and present them with a product that is not only functional but also entertaining and exciting to have. As Apple remains one of the leaders in the smartphone market, it is clear that their marketing strategy is highly effective.

Reference List

Apple Inc. 2018, Q1 2018 unaudited summary data. Web.

Apple reviews iPhone X 2017. Web.

Armstrong, G, Adam, S, Denize, S & Kotler, P 2014, Principles of marketing, 6th edn, Pearson Australia, Melbourne.

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Capatina, G & Draghescu, F 2015, ‘Success factors of new product launch: the case of iPhone launch’, International Journal of Economics and Finance, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 61-70.

iPhone X 2017. Web.

Simon, M 2017, How Apple’s unconventional iPhone X marketing strategy will make you want one at any cost. Web.

Wolny, J & Charoensuksai, N 2014, ‘Mapping customer journeys in multichannel decision-making’, Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 317-326.

Appendix 1

iPhone X reviews
Image 1: iPhone X reviews (Apple reviews iPhone X 2017).

Appendix 2

Table 1: Apple’s iPhone Sales in the First Quarter of 2018.

Q1 2018 Q4 2017 Q1 2017 Year Change (Percentages)
Units Revenue Units Revenue Units Revenue Units Revenue
77,316 $61,576 46,677 $28,846 78,290 $54,378 -1% 13%

In this table, units of sold iPhone devices are shown in thousands, while the revenue is in millions. The year change column includes the difference between the four quarters of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018. As can be seen, the quantity of sold phones decreased while the revenue increased due to the latest models being the most expensive ones. The company presented information only about the first and the last quarters of 2017. The sequential change between the last quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018 is omitted from the table.

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