Apple’s iPhone sales may have declined slightly in 2020 in the European smartphone market; however, the decision to delay the launch of the iPhone 12 appears to have paid off, for two reasons, according to Counterpoint Research.
First, it gave the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE the opportunity to demonstrate remarkable longevity, selling continuously well in many markets throughout the year. Second, it built up demand for the new device which, when finally launched in October, sold “spectacularly,” according to Counterpoint Research.
In fact, the iPhone 12 was Apple’s most successful device launch to date, and drove Apple to a record share high of 30% in the fourth quarter of 2020. The tech giant sold 41.3 million iPhones in calendar year 2020.
Overall, 2020 was a rollercoaster year for the European smartphone market, says the research group. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the region hard, resulting in both supply and demand side issues. Meanwhile, economic concerns and employment worries led to consumers saving rather than spending, and widespread lockdowns meant that many consumers were unable or unwilling to visit retail stores and buy new devices.
“April was the worst month of the year, with sales down almost 50% on 2019. Declining cases and easing restrictions led to a recovery over the summer, but the virus came back with a vengeance,” says Counterpoint Research’s Associate Director, Jan Stryjak. “COVID-19 cases rose in September leading to new lockdowns across Europe from November. The end of the year, therefore, saw the market decline again, despite the best efforts of Apple. Overall, 2020 saw the European smartphone market shrink by 14% versus 2019.”