Investors should not be worried by dip in iPhone sales, says BTIG analyst

Key Points
  • Apple released its latest earnings report Tuesday after the bell, selling fewer iPhones than anticipated, stimulating investor fears.
  • But Walter Piecyk, managing director at BTIG, says at some point consumers will upgrade, and points out that they continue to do so with Apple products.
  • Customers remain loyal to the Apple brand and sales remain strong in China, one of the company's most important markets.
We estimate Apple will sell more than 40 million iPhones in June quarter, says analyst

The recent dip in sales of Apple iPhones should not worry investors, said Walter Piecyk, managing director at BTIG, a financial services firm in New York City.

"At some point you're going to upgrade this product, because it's the most important product in your life," Piecyk told CNBC on Wednesday.

In fact, Piecyk predicted the company will sell more than 40 million iPhone during the coming quarter.

On Tuesday, Apple released its second quarter earnings report after the bell. While the tech company beat Wall Street expectations on many fronts, one disappointing number was iPhone sales. The company sold 52.2 million phones in the March quarter — higher than the 51 million sold during the same quarter last year, but analysts were expecting 53 million.

But while customer upgrade rates are low, Piecyk said sales will continue to grow. He pointed out that sales of Apple's 6 and 6 Plus were higher than other models because of pent-up demand for new products. And, as those phones age and Apple introduces new features and improvements, consumers will be more motivated to update their phones.

"You may hold on to [your phone] longer because it's really expensive," Piecyk said on "Power Lunch" Wednesday. "But if you're staring at it however many hours a day, it's going to be important for you to get a new one at some point. That's where the loyalty factor comes in. Those customers are not going and buying android phones. They're buying Apples."

In addition, while the iPhone X is the most expensive Apple phone to date, starting at about $1,000, Tim Cook said during the conference call that the phone was also the most popular phone sold in China during the quarter. China is one of Apple's most competitive markets.

In response to the earnings report, the analyst increased his price target fpr Apple from $198 to $207 and rated the stock as a buy.