Apple sold fewer than 500,000 iPhones in China last month amid the ongoing curbs on travel and transport, according to government data shared on Monday (via Reuters).
Shipments of Apple devices slumped to 494,000, from 1.27 million in February 2019. In January, their shipments had held steady at just over 2 million.
That amounts to an almost 60 percent slump in iPhone sales – worse than IDC's forecasted drop in overall smartphone sales of roughly 40 percent in the first quarter due to the impact of coronavirus.
China's restrictions on public movement were enforced in late January just ahead of the Lunar New Year Festival and remained in place throughout most of February, which appears to have crippled demand for smartphones.
According to data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, mobile phone brands shipped a total of 6.34 million devices in February, down 55 percent from 14 million sold in February 2019.
Android brands like Huawei and Xiaomi suffered the worst, with shipments collectively declining from 12.72 million units in February 2019 to 5.85 million.
Apple closed all 42 of its retail stores in China at the beginning of February as the outbreak in China worsened, but most of the stores have re-opened, albeit operating with shortened hours. New infections and deaths reported in China have been declining in recent weeks, according to government data, suggesting the virus may have peaked there.
Apple in mid-February announced that its financial guidance for the March quarter would fall short due to the COVID-19 outbreak. During the January earnings call, Apple said it expected to see revenue of $63 to $67 billion in the March quarter, but that is no longer a goal the company will be able to meet.
Apple cited lower customer demand in China and constrained iPhone supplies worldwide as the factors leading to lower than expected revenue.