Sales of iPhones in China dropped 28 percent in the month of January as the deadly coronavirus began its rapid spread, according to new research.
February is likely to go on record as much worse. As the death toll from the virus rose, factories shut down, Apple closed all 42 of its China retail stores and the government doubled down on quarantines and travel restrictions.
UBS, analyzing Chinese government data, said in a research note obtained by Bloomberg that smartphone sales overall fell 37 percent in China.
The fallout comes as no surprise. Apple, anticipating a shortage of sales and delays in production, took the rare step of pulling its March quarter revenue forecast. Apple has yet to announce a new forecast.
Some Apple Stores remain closed and the 29 reopened for business are operating during reduced hours.
“February numbers are likely to be far worse due to both supply and demand issues related to the virus outbreak,” UBS analyst Timothy Arcuri wrote in the note.
Strangely, iPhone sales climbed 5 percent relative to the same time last year as Apple products were among the casualties of the Trump Administration’s trade war with China.
The death from the virus known as COVID-19 has eclipsed 2,700 with more than 80,000 infected. The majority of the cases are from China, though the virus has since spread to other parts of the world, including Italy and some Middle East countries.