Apple’s iPhone sales declined to just 494,000 in China during February as the country grappled with the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, official figures from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology published Monday show.
By comparison, last year Apple sold 1.27 million units in February. Overall, smartphone manufacturers shipped 6.34 million devices in February. That’s down approximately half from the 14 million units that shipped in the same month in 2019. This is the lowest level since the CAICT started publishing figures in 2012.
Apple closed its Apple Stores in China for at least two weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak. While not every iPhone is bought from an Apple Store, it seems likely that this had an impact.
Apple’s current China problems
Apple had anticipated the drop. In February, it pulled its quarterly earnings projections after coronavirus disrupted the company’s manufacturing, supply chain, and retail. “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,” Apple said in a statement published February 17.
So far, 110,392 cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide. A total of 3,811 people have died so far from the outbreak. While new cases of the virus are declining in China, Apple likely hasn’t seen the last of the problems caused by the virus.
A report published today suggests that it could impact on the date that Apple is able to launch its eagerly anticipated 5G iPhones later this year. Apple manufacturer Foxconn says that it expects its factories to be back to full capacity by end of March.