iPhonesSource: iMore

What you need to know

  • Apple is feeling the effects of coronavirus at retail.
  • Sales of iPhones are down in China.
  • Fewer than 500,000 were sold in February.

Apple reportedly sold fewer than 500,000 iPhones in China during February as shoppers simply aren't buying smartphones during the coronavirus outbreak.

The number, based on government data and reported by Reuters, represents a 50% reduction in demand for an average February. It's thought that the prevention of travel, as well as an overall loss of appetite for products during the coronavirus outbreak, are to blame.

It's thought that Apple sold just 494,000 iPhones in February. For comparison's sake, Apple sold $1.27 million iPhones during February 2019.

China placed curbs on travel and asked residents to avoid public places in late January, just ahead of the Lunar New Year festival, a major gift-giving holiday. Those restrictions stayed largely in place through most of February.

Importantly, the reduction in sales isn't specific to Apple. Phone sales fell more than 51% across the entire industry according to the data.

In total, mobile phone brands shipped a total of 6.34 million devices in February, down 54.7% from 14 million in the same month last year, data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology showed (CAICT).

The slowdown in sales likely wasn't helped by Apple's decision to close its Chinese Apple Stores for a two week period in February, although that doesn't explain the reduction in sales across the industry. It's possible coronavirus could have a prolonged impact on iPhone sales, too, with rumors of a delayed iPhone 12 and iPhone 9 now swirling.