iPhone 12 and 12 Pro remain strong in China despite drop in phone demand

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max cameras
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max cameras (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Internation smartphone shipments in China dropped by 66% in February.
  • Demand for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro remains strong, however.

The Chinese smartphone market is experiencing a sharp decline after initially starting off 2021 strong.

According to an investor's note from JP Morgan that has been obtained by AppleInsider, lead analyst Samik Chatterjee points to results from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) for the month of February.

Shipments in China of both international brands and domestic brands plummeted in February, the data shows. Internationally produced devices, largely comprised of Apple iPhones, dropped 66% month-over-month. Domestic device shipments declined 42% in the same period.

According to the report, the average drop for international shipments in February is around 40%, but this year the country experienced a 66% decline. Smartphone shipments by international companies only reached 2.2 million units in the month, a sharp decline from the 6 million units shipped in both December and January.

Chatterjee said that the decline may indicate a less-than-expected desire for 5G upgrades.

"Overall shipment trend largely in-line with typical seasonality is modestly disappointing, and likely represents weaker smartphone industry dynamics relative to expectations entering the year on account of the 5G upgrade cycle."

Iphone 12 Blue

Iphone 12 Blue (Image credit: iMore)

The report does note that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, however, have not experienced the drop in demand that is plaguing other smartphone models.

The report from today follows an earlier report from JP Morgan in February, where Chatterjee predicted that Apple may discontinue production of the iPhone 12 mini altogether.

Downward revisions following a holiday quarter isn't out of the ordinary. However, Chatterjee says that lackluster demand for the iPhone 12 mini and a major cut to iPhone 12 Pro shipments both make the bank "take note of a weaker demand environment." He also expects Apple to discontinue iPhone 12 mini production in the second quarter of 2021.

If you've been wondering what iPhone is right for you, check out our list of the Best iPhone of 2021.

Despite the lackluster situation in China, Apple is expected to ship as many as 60 million iPhones in the first quarter of 2021.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.