Apple’s U.S. iPhone sales were down 23% in the second calendar quarter of 2020 when compared to Q2 2019, say new sales estimates shared today by Counterpoint Research. However, there was at least one bright spot for Apple’s iPhone lineup, as the 2020 iPhone SE sold above expectations.
Apple wasn’t the only phone maker that suffered through the second quarter, as U.S. smartphone sell-through was down 25% year-over-year during the quarter. Samsung, Alcatel, and Apple all fared better than most phone producers. Apple’s new 2020 iPhone SE, which hit shelved in April, helped boost Apple’s sales during the quarter.
The iPhone SE, with its base price of $399 sold well to both prepaid and postpaid customers. More than 30% of iPhone SE buyers were upgrading from an iPhone 6s or older, and over 26% of iPhone SE users came from an Android device, which is a higher than normal Android to iOS rate for switchers.
Apple volumes grew through the quarter and were especially helped by iPhone SE volumes. It was not a typical Apple launch with large fanfare and a launch event at the Steve Jobs theatre, which normally also includes a blitz of TV ads. However, the device has been successful and selling above expectations in both postpaid and prepaid channels. Since the iPhone SE launched, carrier stores and national retail have been re-opening. Some channels saw large promos to draw shoppers back to stores. This was especially true within Walmart, Metro by T-Mobile and Boost.
Apple’s iPhone SE was intended to persuade owners of older iPhones to upgrade, without impacting too much on sales of more expensive models, and it appears to be doing the job.
Counterpoint Research says mid-March through mid-April saw the weakest smartphone sales market, but things began picking up again in the last half of April, thanks to consumers receiving stimulus checks and retail stores once again opening.