Apple's new line-up of iPhones (to be announced today, October 13th) is expected to mark a significant moment in the rollout of 5G and will be an opportunity for Apple to have a large upgrade cycle.
Commenting on Apple sales in 2020, Research Director Tom Kang said, "Apple has done a great job outperforming the global smartphone market. During the COVID-19 low point in Q2 2020, Apple was helped by the timely launch of the iPhone SE, which created a new, low price point for iPhones at $399. It helped Apple get through the worst months of COVID-19 and its lockdown periods. In addition, the iPhone 11 has proved to have great longevity, still selling over one million devices per week on the brink of a refresh. The SE and iPhone 11 helped maintain momentum through Q3 as the general market remained negative."
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 11 family launches saw large upgrades. The iPhone 8 and XR families saw lower upgrade levels as holding periods grew through these launch cycles. The iPhone 11 family opening sales for September-December 2019 saw their first YoY growth since the September-December 2016 sales of iPhone 7. Counterpoint Market Outlook forecasts that Apple's October-December 2020 line-up sales will exceed the iPhone 11 family's September-December sales by 1%. This growth is despite a delayed launch in 2020 where Apple's new line-up will see zero sales in September and also miss much of October sales.