The iPhone 12 isn't living up to iPhone X sales performance in China

Iphone 12 Mini Purple Back Hero
Iphone 12 Mini Purple Back Hero (Image credit: Joe Keller / iMore)

What you need to know

  • The iPhone 12 is underperforming the iPhone X in China.
  • Sales of the new iPhone are 12% lower than that of the iPhone X in its day.

While the iPhone 12 is doing well in China, it doesn't appear to be catching the last iPhone that was completely redesigned.

In a note to investors seen by AppleInsider, Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall says that the iPhone 12 is underperforming in sales when compared to the iPhone X. Funnily enough, the iPhone 12 lineup is selling...12% lower than the older iPhone when it went on sale in the country.

The data used to come to this conclusion was released by the state-run China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) in May. Hall says that international smartphone shipments in May increased from 2.8 million units in May 2020 to 3.8 million units this year.

On the iPhone specifically, there were 3.8 million international smartphone shipments in China during May. That mostly consists of iPhone units. Hall says that that's up from 2.8 million units in May 2020, but is generally in-line with trends from prior years.

However, the analyst says that the iPhone 12 supercycle that some areas are seeing does not appear to be happening in China just yet.

However, the analyst says that the 2021 numbers are still down 12% compared to the iPhone X redesign cycle. Hall takes this as evidence that the current iPhone 12 redesign cycle is "materially weaker" than the last one. He says this supports Goldman Sachs' hypothesis that a three-year cadence for the iPhone will see lower peak unit shipments as global penetration reaches a peak."It is now difficult to dispute the lack of an iPhone Super Cycle in China with aggregate units down materially over the iPhone X redesign," Hall writes. "This data also challenges the assumption that global iPhone replacement cycles have stabilized as it clearly implies lengthening replacements in China."

It's crazy to think that, in just a few months, Apple is expected to announce and release the iPhone 13 lineup along with some expected updates to the Apple Watch and more. If you want to make sure your iPhone 12 survives the summer to have a solid trade-in for the iPhone 13, check out our list of the Best iPhone 12 Waterproof Cases 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.