The iPhone SE was a "bright spot" for Apple in a quarter that otherwise saw a drop in sales for every smartphone manufacturer, a new report claims.
According to new sales estimates data from Counterpoint Research on Monday, smartphone sales volume in the U.S. declined 25% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020. Apple's U.S. iPhone sales were down 23% in the same period.
Among smartphone brands in the U.S., Apple and Samsung were better able to maintain their sales volume better than other manufacturers. For Apple, that's largely because of the success of the iPhone SE, Counterpoint Research's data suggests.
"Apple volumes grew through the quarter and were especially helped by iPhone SE volumes. The device has been successful and selling above expectations in both postpaid and prepaid channels," said Jeff Field Hack, Counterpoint's North American Research Director.
A number of factors helped the iPhone SE drive Apple sales throughout the quarter, including the re-opening of retail channels in the U.S. and subsequent promotional offers from stores like as Walmart, Metro and Boost.
The device also appears to be attracting Android switchers, since Counterpoint estimates that 26% of iPhone SE users moved from an Android device. According to Fieldhack, that's higher than the normal rate of Android-to-iOS switching.
Buyers upgrading from an older device also represent a significant portion of iPhone SE buyers, since 30% of customers upgraded from an iPhone 6s or older.
Similarly, Counterpoint's checks indicate that iPhone SE sales aren't likely to cannibalize the fall "iPhone 12" lineup, due to the fact that "iPhone SE buyers are more pragmatic about price, less concerned with 5G, and the smaller display is not considered a hindrance."
The research firm also notes that smartphone sales for May through June actually grew week-over-week, and that June 2020 sales were higher than the same month last year. According to Counterpoint, that suggests that the smartphone market is starting to recover from the impacts of coronavirus.
Earlier on Monday, data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners indicated that the iPhone SE made up nearly one-fifth of all iPhone purchases in the first quarter that it was available.