iPhone SE Sales Forecasted as 'Lackluster' Over First Weekend

While it appears that Apple has elected not to share first weekend sales numbers for the iPhone SE, as it has done in the past for some flagship models, multiple analysts have forecasted that sales of the new 4-inch smartphone were "lackluster" during its first three to four days of availability.

iPhone-SE-gaming
In a research note issued today, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo questioned last week's CNBC report claiming that iPhone SE orders topped 3.4 million in China, and added that demand for the iPhone SE "has been significantly lower than that of past new models" since launching on March 31.

Lackluster iPhone SE demand supports our view. Although there exists a market survey that indicates iPhone SE preorders top 3.4mn units in China, we couldn’t find more evidence to support this. However, judging by the delivery time for iPhone SE preorders, we believe initial demand for the iPhone SE following the announcement has been significantly lower than that of past new models. We believe this is due in part to lackluster demand for smaller-size smartphones and, more importantly, that the product itself offers no significant upgrades to form factor or hardware specs.

Mobile analytics firm Localytics echoed Kuo, claiming that iPhone SE adoption was "lackluster" following the device's launch. According to the firm's research, the iPhone SE "managed to grab only 0.1% of the iPhone market" over its first weekend of sales, which marked lower adoption than the iPhone 5s and all of the "6" models.

iPhone-SE-Localytics
Apple launched the iPhone SE last Thursday on the same day as Tesla began accepting reservations for its lower-cost Model 3, and consumer excitement was unsurprisingly geared towards the highly-anticipated electric vehicle. In fact, many Tesla locations in the U.S. and Europe had longer lineups than nearby Apple retail stores.

Kuo forecasted that overall iPhone shipments will likely fall below 200 million units in 2016, indicating that the iPhone SE will not be enough for Apple to overcome "peak iPhone" until at least next year.

We forecast 1H16 and 2H16 iPhone shipments of 85-95mn units and 105-115mn units, respectively, implying full-year shipments of 190-210mn units (vs. 232mn in 2015), below market consensus of 210-230mn units.

In light of market feedback for iPhone 6s, 6s Plus and SE, we believe growth on replacement demand for larger display is slowing. We are therefore conservative about shipments of current iPhone models in 1Q-3Q16.

Nevertheless, considering that the iPhone SE is effectively an upgraded iPhone 5s, and based on a design first introduced in 2012, it is largely unsurprising that demand among early adopters may be lower than usual. Apple's flagship iPhone 7 series is also due in September, which many customers are likely holding out for.

The success of the iPhone SE in emerging markets such as China, India, and Pakistan is likely what Apple is more concerned about. The smartphone's lower starting price should help get the device in the hands of consumers in markets where premium smartphones are out of reach for some due to socioeconomic factors.

In those markets, there is at least anecdotal evidence to suggest that the iPhone SE may be off to a good start.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE 2020
Buyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
57 months ago
Apple releases small phone 6 months after big phone, less people buy, surprise is had?
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago
SE was never going to be quick out of the gates,

But it'll catch up with steady sales over time.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago
Tesla must be to blame. Too many people choose to pre-order a car instead of a phone.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago
Where are all the people that wanted a new 4 inch iPhone?

(yes, its not exactly 'new', its a refined 5s).
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago

Apple launched the iPhone SE last Thursday on the same day as Tesla began accepting reservations for its lower-cost Model 3 ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/04/01/tesla-unveils-35000-model-3-electric-car/'), and consumer excitement was unsurprisingly geared towards the highly-anticipated electric vehicle.

Can we stop acting like the Tesla announcement stole any of Apple's thunder? They're two completely separate products and each got a fair amount of coverage in the news. Consumers are smart enough to hear about two new things on the same day and not fixate on one.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago
Apple didn't even try. They could have eliminated the bezel and made this a 4.3'' brand new phone.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...

Apple May Launch This Year's 'iPhone 12' Lineup in Two Stages, With 6.1-inch Models Debuting First

Monday August 3, 2020 3:14 am PDT by
Apple last week confirmed that its "‌iPhone‌ 12" launch will be delayed this year due to the ongoing global health crisis and restrictions on travel. Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later," suggesting a release sometime in October. We're expecting a total of four OLED iPhones in 5.4, 6.1, and...

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Everything New in iOS 14 Beta 4: Apple TV Widget, Search Improvements, Exposure Notification API and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 11:14 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth developer betas of iOS and iPadOS 14 for testing purposes, tweaking and refining some of the features and design changes included in the update. Changes get smaller and less notable as the beta testing period goes on, but there are still some noteworthy new features in the fourth beta, which we've highlighted below. - Apple TV widget - There's a new Apple TV...

Apple Explains Why You Might See 'Not Charging' When a Mac is Plugged In

Monday August 3, 2020 1:42 pm PDT by
If you have a Mac and have seen a "Not Charging" warning when plugging it in to power, Apple last week released a support document that explains why. Macs running macOS 10.15.5 or later have a Battery Health Management feature to preserve the life of the battery, and occasionally, the Battery Health Management option will cause the Mac to pause its charging for calibration purposes.Depending ...

Unreleased iPod Touch with Mac Pro Glossy Black Finish Shared Online

Sunday August 2, 2020 11:32 am PDT by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today posted images of what seems to be a first-generation iPod Touch prototype with a 2013 Mac Pro-style glossy black finish. The Twitter user claims that the iPod Touch prototype pictured has "the same coating as the 2013 Mac Pro." Had the finish been selected for the final product, it also would have been similar to the metallic glossy black finish that...

Phil Schiller Moving on to Become 'Apple Fellow,' Greg Joswiak Taking Over as Marketing SVP

Tuesday August 4, 2020 10:07 am PDT by
Apple's Phil Schiller is moving on to become an "Apple Fellow," Apple announced today, while Greg Joswiak will take over as Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. Schiller will continue to lead the App Store and Apple Events, but will no longer be in charge of marketing. Apple CEO Tim Cook said he is "thrilled" that Joswiak will be leading the marketing team, and that his...

Microsoft to Stop Supporting Office 2016 for Mac in October

Monday August 3, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Microsoft's Office 2016 for Mac is set to reach its end of support date on October 13, 2020, and after that date, connecting to Office 365 services using the Office 2016 for Mac software will no longer be supported. Microsoft shared the detail in a support document from July highlighting which versions of Office will be supported for connecting to Office 365 services in the future.Connecting ...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

Apple Shares Requirements for Default Third-Party Browser and Email Apps With Developers

Monday August 3, 2020 4:28 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 plans to allow users to set a third-party app as the default email or browser app on an iPhone or iPad, replacing the current Apple-made default apps Safari and Mail. Apple hasn't provided many details on the new feature to users, but as noted by MacStories' Federico Vittici, Apple has shared documentation with developers who want their apps to have the option to be set as a...