Cowen updates iPhone 12 build forecast on continued strong demand

High demand for the iPhone 12 prompted Apple to increase its build orders for the March quarter, Cowen analysts say, with sales in China said to be a highlight of the quarter’s finances.

In an update report on Cowen’s smartphone build seen by AppleInsider, analysts say they’ve updated their forecast for the March 21 quarter for the third consecutive month. Cowen currently believes Apple intends to produce 55 million units of iPhones, a 49% year-over-year increase for the quarter and up from the company forecasted 51 million a month ago.

The increase in units is driven by higher demand for three of the four iPhone 12 models, with the iPhone 12 itself rumored to make up 2 million extra units, while the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max added each 1 million in total. Estimates of the iPhone 12 mini are presumably unchanged from Cowen’s previous predictions.

A highlight of its results is claimed to be Apple’s performance in China. The latest CAICT data is said to show that 6 million iPhones were sold in China in December, which is both a multi-year high for Apple which accounts for a 20% market share.

The good news in China comes during a time when overall smartphone shipments in the country are declining, down 10% in December month-on-month and 13% year-on-year to 26.6 million units. About 6 million of these units were for foreign brands, with Apple consuming the vast majority of that segment.

Overall iPhone builds for the December quarter are said to be 79 million units, up 13% year-on-year. The proportion of the iPhone 12 is said to be more concentrated than usual, with models thought to account for 82% of builds in the quarter, up from the 74% average of the past two release cycles.

The forecast appears to correlate with other reports on iPhone demand and sales, including those from other analysts. It was previously claimed that Apple was increasing orders for the first half of 2021, a 30% increase year-over-year, with the current generation believed to be absorbing a larger percentage of iPhone sales.

Apple is ready to announce December quarter financial results on Wednesday. AppleInsider will report on the findings and subsequent conference call with analysts.


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