Apple sells fewer than 500,000 iPhones in China in Feb. amid COVID-19

In February, Apple’s sales of iPhone amounted to fewer than 500,000 units in China, according to Chinese government data released on Monday, as the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak halved demand in the smartphone market as a whole.

Just ahead of the major gift-giving Lunar New Year festival, the Chinese government curbed travel in late January and those restrictions stayed largely in place through most of the month of February. Apple’s branded stores in China were shut for at least two weeks in February as fears over the coronavirus outbreak mounted.

Apple iPhone China sales. Image: iPhone 11 Pro Max
Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro Max


In total, mobile phone brands shipped a total of 6.34 million devices in February, down 54.7% from 14 million in the same month last year, data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology showed (CAICT).

Android brands, which include devices made by Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi, accounted for most of the drop, as they collectively saw shipments decline from 12.72 million units in February 2019 to 5.85 million, the data showed.

Shipments of Apple devices slumped to 494,000, from 1.27 million in February 2019. In January, its shipments had held steady at just over 2 million.

MacDailyNews Take: With this news of Apple’s February iPhone sales in China, along with an obscene amount of coronavirus hysterics amplified by the media/social media echo chamber, get ready for AAPL’s discount sale, just ahead of the multi-year 5G iPhone super cycle, to deepen. Smart investors will take advantage.

MacDailyNews Note: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, from October 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020, there have been:

• 34 million – 49 million cases of seasonal influenza
• 16 million – 23 million influenza medical visits
• 350,000 – 620,000 influenza hospitalizations
• 20,000 – 52,000 influenza deaths

That’s just in the U.S.

Worldwide COVID-19 stats as per Johns Hopkins CSSE:

• 111,354 cases of COVID-19
• 62,375 total recovered
• 3,892 COVID-19 deaths


  1. The figures MDN cited show that you have a 0.1% chance of dying if you catch the flu, but a 2.7% chance of dying if you catch Covid-19. The figures they didn’t cite show that the average flu patient infects 1.4 other people, while the average Covid-19 patient infects 2 or 3. So, without vigorous public health measures, there could be, and probably would be, a much higher impact from A Covid-19 pandemic than from seasonal flu.

    That can be avoided through quarantines and such, but those measures are in themselves economically disruptive. Hence the near shutdown of the Chinese economy for over a month and a similar lockdown on regions of Italy that contain a quarter of the population and half the economic activity.

    1. You do not understand statistics. Hint: Your COVID-19 death rate is calculated how? And how is that different that how the death rate for the flu is calculated? Therein lies your error.

      1. 3/111, deaths divided by the number of cases. How else would you calculate mortality from a new disease? We have a history for flu, so I used the long-term figure of 0.1, rather than the actual (and much lower) figure for this season.

        The average American is less than 38 years old and in reasonably good health apart from weight. It is true that such individuals are at little risk at the current American infection levels. However, millions of Americans are in groups with a much higher vulnerability, and the infection rates have far from peaked.

        Suggesting that this is al some sort of anti-Trump plot is raging paranoia.

        1. More clues for would-be statisticians:

          People with milder versions of the illness are underrepresented in official case counts, since they may not be sick enough to seek medical attention or realize they have anything more than a cold… That means the total number of reported cases is very likely an underestimate—and by not counting many mild or asymptomatic cases, we’re likely overestimating the disease’s overall mortality rate. President Donald Trump, for one, told Fox News he has a “hunch” that the actual mortality rate is likely below 1%.

          —— TIME, March 9, 2020

          While some studies peg the death rate to 3.4%, experts expect to see this rate decrease as the health care system starts finding milder cases.

          “What I was able to find by looking at a few other data sources, rather than just the big flashy numbers, was that there’s actually a lot of reason to be reassured that the numbers are a lot lower,” said Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency medicine doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

          Because only the sickest people are showing up at hospitals, this group is likely over-represented among the full population of people who have COVID-19, according to Faust. Most COVID-19 cases are mild, and many individuals will never even see a health care provider to be tested.

          “If you had an outbreak on a cruise ship, and there’s any sign that care was delayed or that people who really should’ve been protected weren’t, then you actually have reason to say ‘Oh, actually, whatever we found on the cruise ship, it’s actually that’s the worst case scenario because they didn’t get treatment on time.’”

          Of the 705 passengers who tested positive for the virus on the Diamond Princess, six died — which is a death rate of less than 1%. All of the patients who died onboard were more than 70 years old.

          —— ABC News, “Early mortality rates for coronavirus are likely misleading, experts say,” March 9, 2020

          Have I provided enough clues for you, yet, to stop repeating bad, wildly-inflated stats – or do you have some vested interest in promulgating unnecessary panic?

          1. Yes, the total number of cases is underestimated, but so is the number of deaths. Some have been misatttibuted to other causes, and some are people who are currently just sick, but will eventually die.

            1. That you ignore facts and very simple math suggests that you indeed are promoting continued panic and hysteria. I would guess, based on your past posts, it’s for political ends. You seem to think you can kill Trump by killing the economy by promoting irrational fear. Good luck with that. The actual numbers will soon thwart your fevered wet dream.

              20,000 – 52,000 will die in the U.S. alone from seasonal influenza. Give me a call when COVID-19 hits 52,000.

            2. It should not hit remotely near 52,000 because we will employ effective containment and mitigation strategies based on solid science. It COULD hit 52,000 if those strategies are not employed because the Administration minimizes the risks to the point that the public does not take the threat seriously.

            3. “…because the Administration…”

              And there it is, T(a)x(ab)User, you’re exploiting sickness and death for what you think will be political gain, just like a good little Demonrat.

    1. Are you sure it is leveling off? Looks like it is increasing in some areas. Leveling off in China? According to WHO? The WHO? Uh… Chinese numbers may be a little… unreliable. Just ask the residents of Wuhan WHO were visited by a top gov official last week… they yelled “It’s fake.. It’s a cover up!” at her. Now THAT is Fake News.

    2. What is the cure rate for those 51 or older? Are things leveling off in the US? Italy? I’ve read that things have improved A LOT in China. I think they are only getting a few cases per day now. They were getting thousands of cases per day a few weeks ago. Must be leveling off in China. That is good news… if you live in China.

  2. There are 30,000-40,000 auto-related deaths each year — in the USA alone. In China it was 256,180 in 2018 (most recent reporting).

    But last week Apple stock dropped 20% and Costco reported an unprecedented run on bottled water and toilet paper, on news there had been neatly 4,000 die of the Corona Virus!

  3. Isn’t this article about iPhones sold in China? Can’t tell from reading the comments. Anyways… I am surprised they sold SO MANY considering the horrors going on in China. Only 80,000+ cases? That’s great news! Only 100+ new cases per day now? Wow! Only 3,000 + deaths so far? Wonderful! Uhh… we still don’t know the number of deaths from the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre (that massacre that has been deleted from social media, all media, all books and history in China). Uhh… I’d believe Apple’s numbers before COMMUNIST China’s fake numbers.

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