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iPhone sales in China dropped by more than 50% due to the coronavirus

Published Mar 9th, 2020 6:06PM EDT
iPhone 11 Sales
Image: Zach Epstein for BGR

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  • iPhone sales in China plummeted in February as the coronavirus kept demand low.
  • Apple anticipated a slowdown in sales and last month adjusted its revenue guidance for the quarter.
  • As the coronavirus continues to spread, there’s no telling when iPhone demand and production will return to normal levels.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Apple’s iPhone sales in China last month were markedly lower on account of the coronavirus, according to a new report from the South China Morning Post. This, of course, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for two reasons. For starters, iPhone production was limited on account of factory slowdowns. Secondly, Apple retail stores in China last month were closed for long stretches of time.

Coupled with the fact that many individuals in China are still avoiding going out to public places whenever possible, iPhone sales in China last month were unusually low.

As to specific figures, the Post relays that iPhone shipments in China last month came in at 494,000. As a point of contrast, iPhone shipments in China during the same quarter a year-ago checked in at 1.27 million units. That’s more than a 50% decline and, not surprisingly, shares of Apple are down nearly 5% in trading today.

Touching on the matter, analyst Dan Ives adds:

These are doomsday type of iPhone units and overall smartphone sales which are not surprising given the essential lockdown that most of China saw during the month of February with stores closed and the supply chain under massive pressure due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Cook and Apple when taking March guidance off the table last month foreshadowed these types of numbers and speaks to the near-term damage done in China over the last six weeks due to the coronavirus and its impact on consumer demand across the board.

As Ive notes, you’ll remember that Apple in mid-February lowered its quarterly guidance on account of the coronavirus. In a press release sent out a few weeks ago, Apple explained:

Our quarterly guidance issued on January 28, 2020 reflected the best information available at the time as well as our best estimates about the pace of return to work following the end of the extended Chinese New Year holiday on February 10. Work is starting to resume around the country, but we are experiencing a slower return to normal conditions than we had anticipated. As a result, we do not expect to meet the revenue guidance we provided for the March quarter due to two main factors.

All told, the panic and fear surrounding the coronavirus is palpable and doesn’t appear to be slowing down in the slightest. With the virus still spreading to new places with each passing day, people are stocking up on hand sanitizer and other essentials to a degree we perhaps haven’t seen since Y2K.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.