China smartphone data shows solid iPhone 12 demand, but no 'super cycle'

Posted:
in AAPL Investors edited April 12
Analysts are weighing in on the latest smartphone shipment data out of China, which suggests solid demand for iPhone models but casts doubt on a "super cycle."

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider
Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider


The latest shipment disclosure from the Chinese Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) shows that shipments of international smartphone brands, mostly composed of Apple devices, clocked in at 2.7 million devices in March 2021.

According to JP Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee, that's a 7% year-over-year decline from March 2020. While the 2.7 million devices does represent a 23% month-over-month increase, it's also below the average seasonal increase of 42% between the months of February and March.

Chatterjee notes that the March numbers represent the first year-over-year decline since September 2020. However, he does note that shipments have seemingly surged 92% to 11.3 million units in the first quarter of 2021. That's well ahead of 2020 and 2019 levels, and in-line with 2018 numbers.

In a research note seen by AppleInsider Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall makes a similar analysis. He says that the aggregate unit count between September 2020 and March 2021 has hit 31.9 million units, which compares favorably to 24.3 million units in the same period in 2019 and 2020.

However, Hall notes that the 2021 numbers are still down about 14% from the iPhone X redesign cycle over the same period. He says that's consistent with Goldman Sachs' view that lengthening replacement cycles are driving lower demand peaks in iPhone redesign years.

UBS analyst David Vogt has taken it a step further. He estimates that Apple shipments were down 14% year-over-year in March, compared to year-over-year growth of 255% in February and 122% in January.

"We believe the deceleration was somewhat expected and could continue in the months of April and May given tough compare versus last year's demand impact from the pandemic," Vogt writes.

Additionally, Hall says that the March 2021 CAICT disclosures suggest that Apple lost market share during the period. He says that supports UBS's view that the iPhone 12 lineup is unlikely to result in a "super cycle."

Overall handset shipments in China came in at 36 million units in March 2021, up 66% month-over-month and higher than pre-COVID levels in 2018 and 2019.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    mobirdmobird Posts: 541member
    If no "super cycle" now with everything that the iPhone 12 models have to offer, it seems like any future "super cycle" might be a long time in coming most likely taking a re-design to create the demand to achieve "super cycle" status as I am not aware of any other tech such as 5G that would create that type of demand.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 10
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,065member
    I thought there was actual data in the article. This is just an analyst circle-jerk as usual. 
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 10
    mobird said:
    If no "super cycle" now with everything that the iPhone 12 models have to offer, it seems like any future "super cycle" might be a long time in coming most likely taking a re-design to create the demand to achieve "super cycle" status as I am not aware of any other tech such as 5G that would create that type of demand.
    What is that 5G mantra about? Does people really benefit from that so much? I think Ceramic Shield is much more important.
    edited April 12 BeatsJapheywatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 10
    Besides 5G which Android had before the iPhone, what has Apple really introduced as a groundbreaking feature? The overall design is the same from the X besides the outer case resembling the iPhone 5. Apple still hasn’t included a refresh rate higher than 60Hz. Android phones have 120Hz now. Apple may have more longevity than Android as far as software updates but they’re not really innovating anymore, now they’re playing catch-up feature wise. 
  • Reply 5 of 10
    ivanhivanh Posts: 556member
    Every iphone 12 has a super fast chip and the GPS perfect for a missile. Should Apple be allowed to sell it to the tyranny regimes?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 10
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,065member
    Besides 5G which Android had before the iPhone, what has Apple really introduced as a groundbreaking feature? The overall design is the same from the X besides the outer case resembling the iPhone 5. Apple still hasn’t included a refresh rate higher than 60Hz. Android phones have 120Hz now. Apple may have more longevity than Android as far as software updates but they’re not really innovating anymore, now they’re playing catch-up feature wise. 

    I like how “Android” becomes a phone model when people nit-pick features.

    Of course if you collect features from 10,000+ knockoff iPhones you’ll find enough crap and “innovation”(most isn’t) to say iPhone is falling behind.
    edited April 12 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 10
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,065member
    frantisek said:
    mobird said:
    If no "super cycle" now with everything that the iPhone 12 models have to offer, it seems like any future "super cycle" might be a long time in coming most likely taking a re-design to create the demand to achieve "super cycle" status as I am not aware of any other tech such as 5G that would create that type of demand.
    What is that 5G mantra about? Does people really benefit from that so much? I think Ceramic Shield is much more important.

    I think MagSafe is the future and will only expand. I expect to see MagSafe wall mounts, MagSafe game controllers, fun quirky accessories and other creative add-ons as time passes.

    Apple has quite the innovation on its hands here.

    Shi* it even has me thinking all kinds of cool ideas. I’m thinking a teddy bear toy that can mount an iPhone to its belly to play with it.
    edited April 12 watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 10
    M68000M68000 Posts: 329member
    Perhaps there is a larger story than sales of a single model year of phones.  Could the real story be that the years of so called super cycles are now over?   The average consumer has no need to change their phones frequently and this results in staggered upgrades every year now?
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 10
    Can’t think of a better time to upgrade my phone than when my travel, movement and life in general is restricted and my trust in steady income is shaken (well not mine, but wifey got laid off months ago).

    Analysts can study the makings of a “super cycle” and make wrong predictions on previous data, because they can’t foresee X, Y and Z. Doesn’t mean that their jobs are meaningless (financial analysts in general), but I won’t make my investment decisions solely on their words.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,616member
    iPhones are so good and last so long that I can't see why there'd ever be a supercycle again without something massive, bordering on the revolutionary.  5G and 120Hz aren't going to cut it, they're just nice-to-have iterations.

    I'm using an iPhone X, and haven't had any inclination to upgrade for three years, there's no worthwhile reason to.
    muthuk_vanalingam
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