CNBC reports that data it has collected from numerous sources says that in China in the month of April, Apple sold 3.9 million iPhones, a 160% increase from Match where the company sold 1.5 million.
The newly released iPhone SE accounted for 24% of the 3.9 total iPhone shipments. Although they note that analysts they spoke too contradicted each other, with one saying it only accounted for 8%, and another saying it does not reflect actual demand.
Sell-in iPhone shipments, or in other words shipments of iPhones Apple gives to authorized retail partners in China was 3 million in the same month, a 30% increase from March. One of those authorized Apple retailers is the Alibab owned website Tmall. CNBC says that it too saw a huge increase:
Revenue from sales of all Apple products via its official store on Tmall jumped nearly 40% month-on-month in April to $127.6 million, WPIC, an e-commerce tech and marketing firm that helps foreign brands sell in China, told CNBC. For iPhones alone, revenue from Tmall rose over 33% month-on-month to just over $80 million.
CNBC also looked into Apple services. According to the report, App Store spending for China in April accounted for $1.53 billion, a 7% month-on-month increase. A research manager at IDC says that the market in China is still tough despite the easing of restrictions:
“It’s still tough. It’s tough not only for Apple but also all smartphone makers. For Apple it’s tough because right now, the economic situation is not so good and consumer sentiment has not fully returned to the normal levels,”
Wong added that low-range devices that offer good features and specs for a relatively low price will be what consumers go for. As CNBC notes Apple only has the iPhone SE in that category, with the competition like Huawei and Xiamoi having many more options.
“Users previously may have considered to buy Apple but right now they may choose Huawei as they might get a phone with cheaper price and good features,”
Well having a disadvantage in the low-range smartphone market, Apple is also missing out on 5G. Xiaomi and Huawei already have a fleet of 5G devices in the Chinese market, and 5G devices are set to account for around 40% of smartphone sales in China in 2020.
“The demand for 5G phones though is rising meteorically which could bring some headwinds to Apple’s overall volumes in (the) coming months until a 5G iPhone is launched,” Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Research, told CNBC.
Apple is expected to launch its first 5G devices with the iPhone 12, although looming reports of a potential delay could harm the companies ability to emerge in a competitive market. While the report does paint a positive image for the company, the challenge is not over.
Out of all the countries where Apple was thought to have taken the biggest hit given COVID19, it was China. China is not only where Apple produces the majority of its products, but it also plays a large role in the consumer market. It’s no surprise that the closure of Apple Stores, lockdowns, and stay-at-home orders would impact Apple sales but it seems to be bouncing back.