Affordable iPhone SE is proving popular with Android users and longtime Apple fans


In brief: Smartphone sales have continued their decline throughout the second quarter of 2020, mostly because of economic uncertainty. But while Samsung struggled to sell its newly released Galaxy S20 family of handsets, the iPhone SE performed surprisingly well and even convinced a sizable number of Android users to make the switch to an iPhone.

During the first quarter of 2020, global smartphone shipments saw a 20 percent decline due to coronavirus-related economic uncertainties. Industry insiders predicted in April that smartphone production would hit a record low in the second quarter, leading to lower expectations in terms of shipments.

The latest market report from Counterpoint Research is out, and it looks like smartphone sales volume fell by 25 percent in the US for the three months ending in June.

Samsung saw the smallest hit, even though the timing of the Galaxy S20 series launch was unfortunate at best. From March to June, the company saw 38 percent fewer activations for S20 smartphones compared to the S10 family during the same period of last year.

This is still an improvement over the performance achieved during the first quarter, and some analysts believe things will improve considerably over the next few months, as Samsung is expected to entice buyers with the Note 20 and two other handsets.

Apple saw a 23 percent decrease in sales, but Counterpoint analysts point out that the new iPhone SE has been instrumental in preventing a bigger drop. The handset sold much better than expected and even contributed to the reopening of some retail stores from T-Mobile, Boost, and Metro.

Samsung’s answer to the iPhone SE came in May in the form of the Galaxy A51, originally a $400 Android alternative to the SE that not long after launch saw a price drop to just $325, making it an solid value for budget shoppers. Still, more than 26 percent of iPhone SE buyers came from an Android device, which is higher than the normal switching rate observed in recent years.

Furthermore, 30 percent of those who bought the iPhone SE came from older Apple handsets such as the iPhone 6S. These findings have been confirmed in a separate analysis by Consumer Research Intelligence Partners, who also noted that most people who upgraded to the iPhone SE came from a smartphone that was over three years old.


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