Apple's annual marketing push for its latest iPhone is in full swing but according to one analyst, the new iPhone 8 has taken a back seat to last year's model.

John Vinh from KeyBanc Capital Markets said in a recent client note that survey data indicates that a "meaningful" portion of customers are buying last year's iPhone 7 in lieu of the new iPhone 8.

The iPhone 7 starts at $549 while the newer iPhone 8 carries an entry price of $699.

Reuters notes that just last week, AT&T said its third-quarter postpaid handset upgrades were down by nearly 900,000 compared to a year ago.

According to Vinh, feedback from stores indicated that some customers were holding out to purchase the iPhone X while others were waiting for Apple's flagship to arrive in order to compare it with other models before making a decision.

The iPhone X, which starts at $999, goes on sale November 3 with pre-orders opening on October 27. If rumors prove accurate, the phone will be in extremely short supply, perhaps through the entire holiday season and beyond.

Apple finds itself in a unique albeit predictable predicament this holiday season.

The iPhone 8 only affords a handful of improvements over last year's model and could just have easily (and perhaps should have) carried an "S" moniker. Further complicating things is the iPhone X, a new flagship that launches about a month and a half after the iPhone 8. This splits potential buyers into two groups and, assuming inventory is indeed low, could force some hopefuls to either settle for the iPhone 8 or look to other handset makers.

Lead image via James Martin, CNET