CIRP: iPhone SE popularity continues, pandemic drives more iPhone sales to the Apple Online Store

A new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners today highlights the continued success of the iPhone SE in Apple’s lineup. Furthermore, the CIRP data shows Apple Stores, both online and in-store, accounting for a higher percentage of iPhone sales this year.

The report explains that the 2020 iPhone SE accounted for 22% of all iPhone sales in the United States during the third quarter. The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max accounted for 64% of US iPhone sales during the quarter. The iPhone 11 led the way with roughly 30% of sales.

“In its first full quarter of sales, the $399 iPhone SE accounted for almost one-quarter of iPhone sales,” said Josh Lowitz, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder. “During a challenging quarter, with COVID-19 altering the retail landscape and delaying launch of new 2020 flagship models, the new SE model succeeded in attracting customers with old phones in need of an upgrade. Last fall’s iPhone 11 family of phones continued to sell well, with iPhone 11 remaining the biggest single model, and one-third of customers opting for the premium-priced iPhone Pro and Pro Max.”

Interestingly, the CIRP report also has new data on the breakdown of where iPhone sales occurred during the quarter. In Q3 2020, 8% of iPhone sales took place at physical Apple Stores, and 13% took place via the Apple Online Store, for a total of 21% direct sales. This is up from 6% at Apple Stores, 7% via the Apple Online Store, and 13% total in Q3 of 2019.

Notably, CIRP says that this is the first time that Apple Online Store sales have ever exceeded Apple Store sales for iPhone purchases. Nonetheless, even though Apple has grown its total share of iPhone sales, the majority still occur through carriers, with 71% of iPhone sales taking place through carrier partners in Q3 2020 and 4% taking place through Best Buy.

Apple will report its fiscal Q4 2020 earnings on Thursday. Notably, Apple has already warned investors that year-over-year comparisons will be difficult because of the iPhone 12 release taking place several weeks later than the iPhone 11 last year.

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