With T-Mobile and Apple stores closed, iPhone sales drop off a cliff

With T-Mobile and Apple stores closed, phone sales in the US dropped off a cliff
It's not an easy time to choose a phone based on virtual previews, and test it in the store to see if the shoe fits. It's an even harder time to get a handset on a whim as you are perusing it in a T-Mobile shop, or at the Apple store, given that the vast majority of these are closed.

Between T-Mobile and Sprint, 75% of those carriers' retail presence is closed, followed by AT&T with 40%, and then Verizon whose store hours are reduced and some are shut down completely. Apple has also chosen to move its shopping online, and, given that the vast majority of phone purchases in the US happens at these sources, phone sales have dropped off the proverbial cliff in the last few weeks.

According to a Counterpoint Research analysis, handset buying has decreased with unprecedented rate in the span of a month. Phone sales dropped from nearly 3 million units the week of February 23, to less than a million in the week of March 23. The researchers don't expect a through and then recovery until at least the end of the month, too.

Apple vs Samsung vs LG phone sales decline in the US

The biggest loser from the coronavirus pandemic ravaging consumer's health and pockets seems to be Apple, whose iPhones notched the most precipitous drop in sales. Given, however, that it holds the largest market share of phones sold in the US, and both Samsung and LG have come up with shiny new flagships, its steeper drop was to be expected. Here's Counterpoint's sales distribution graph of the three main phone vendors in America - Apple, Samsung and LG.

The iPhone 11 is still the most popular phone to buy in the US

While Apple's more expensive handsets have seen demand plummet, the iPhone 11 is still the phone that sells like hot cakes in the US, as it has been since its inception. Even that cheapo blockbuster can't escape the coronavirus effect, though, as you can see in the top sales chart below. 

Samsung's Galaxy S20 series launch last month has helped it weather the sales bust a bit better than it would have otherwise, but now the sales of the newcomers are almost evened out with those of the S10 series, and the higher prices have as much to do with it as the corona-induced market slump.

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