Apple won Christmas this year with massive iPhone sales.
We’re getting a better idea of how Apple did it thanks to a new UBS report published Wednesday.
UBS estimates Apple sold 69.3 million iPhones to customers last quarter.
That’s less than UBS’s earlier bullish prediction of 70.9 million units, but still way above the Wall Street consensus of 65.5 million units.
(UBS tracks sales to customers, while Apple reports sales to stores. UBS estimates Apple’s “sell-in number” to be 67 million.)
So how did Apple beat Wall Street’s expectations by nearly four million iPhones?
UBS says sales in China drove iPhone sales to new heights.
“Recent data suggests that iPhone demand saw outsized growth in China, even finding that China could constitute as much as 35% of shipments in the quarter compared with 22% a year ago,” said UBS analyst Steven Milunovich.
That would make China the number-one market for iPhones.
UBS says around 24% of iPhone shipments last quarter were to the U.S. A year ago, that number was 29%, and teh U.S. was the top market for iPhones.
Analysts expect strong iPhone demand in China into this spring, particularly for the iPhone 6 Plus.
We’ll know more about Apple’s iPhone sales when the company reports earnings for the last quarter of 2014 on January 27.