Apple to Outperform Global Smartphone Market in 2020; iPhone Refresh to See Significant Upgrade Cycle in Q4

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SEOUL, South Korea and NEW DELHI and HONG KONG and SAN DIEGO and LONDON and BUENOS AIRES, Argentina and MUMBAI, India, Oct. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Apple is set to announce its new line-up of iPhones on October 13. This will mark a significant moment in the rollout of 5G and will be an opportunity for Apple to have a large upgrade cycle.

Commenting on Apple sales in 2020, Research Director Tom Kang said, “Apple has done a great job outperforming the global smartphone market. During the COVID-19 low point in Q2 2020, Apple was helped by the timely launch of the iPhone SE, which created a new, low price point for iPhones at $399. It helped Apple get through the worst months of COVID-19 and its lockdown periods. In addition, the iPhone 11 has proved to have great longevity, still selling over one million devices per week on the brink of a refresh. The SE and iPhone 11 helped maintain momentum through Q3 as the general market remained negative.”

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 11 family launches saw large upgrades. The iPhone 8 and XR families saw lower upgrade levels as holding periods grew through these launch cycles. The iPhone 11 family opening sales for September-December 2019 saw their first YoY growth since the September-December 2016 sales of iPhone 7. Counterpoint Market Outlook forecasts that Apple’s October-December 2020 line-up sales will exceed the iPhone 11 family’s September-December sales by 1%. This growth is despite a delayed launch in 2020 where Apple’s new line-up will see zero sales in September and also miss much of October sales.

Research Director Jeff Fieldhack said, “There is significant pent-up demand from iOS subscribers putting off upgrades until these 5G devices launch. In addition, options for display sizes and price points will help drive sales. Also benefitting Apple this smartphone refresh will be greater efforts by global mobile operators to upgrade the iOS installed base to 5G. In countries where 5G has begun to roll out, operators will have significant incentive to migrate LTE iOS subscribers to their near-empty 5G networks. Look for significant promotional offers.”


Jeff Fieldhack

Counterpoint Research

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