iPhone 12 mini Sales Not Great

Many, of course, have taken the apparent failure of the Mini to capture as a large audience as a sign that the market for the original SE was based on price, not size.

However, the Macalope presents a different theory: that the introduction of Mini came too soon after the SE’s intro earlier in 2020. The idea is that the demand for a smaller iPhone was mostly satisfied by the new SE introduced earlier in 2020, that it essentially sopped up the market. Most folks who bought the SE were not ready to get another new phone in the same year.

So, perhaps to better see the market for a smaller iPhone in the future, one needs to breakdown Apple sales of phones in 2020, not by 11 vs. 12 but by size and complexity. That is, one should look at the percentages of the 12 and Mini combined vs the sales of other 11 and 12 models for 2020.

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And, along those same lines, releasing two small (ish) phones in the same year will inevitably lead to them competing for the same customers.

Seen this way, it’s hard to understand why the 12 mini exists when the SE (using 11-class chips) is being sold at the same time.

Well, that was certainly true for us. Tonya bought the second-generation iPhone SE as soon as it came out because she had been holding out for a new iPhone that wasn’t in the iPhone X form factor. Once November rolled around, she would have preferred the iPhone 12 mini, but it wasn’t worth upgrading from such a new iPhone SE.

The mini is also really expensive compared to the 11 and even the 12.

The 12 mini is in fact $30 more expensive than the 6.1" 11 was, and only $100 less than the 12 which not only has a larger screen, but is OLED as well. The 12 mini is the first of its generation and it’s an expensive phone to manufacture. Its price reflects that and right now that could be an issue.

Many buyers might assume an extra $100 for the 12 is a bargain for so much extra screen size and allegedly better battery life. I would wager fewer people are willing to pay less for a more compact phone (I know I would, but I also know I’m a minority geek) than the other way around. However, as iPhone generations progress the current 12 mini will gradually become less expensive compared to its larger siblings and with that its sales will increase. Also, by end of 2022 the present 12 mini could serve as the SE3 at ~ $400. Similar to how Apple is presently selling the XR as a $300 cheaper alternative to the 12.

IMHO the mini isn’t going anywhere and with time its sales numbers will make perfectly clear where its justification lies.

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There have always been well-argued reasons why each generation of the SE/mini hasn’t sold well, but unfortunately the common theme has been that the SE/mini hasn’t sold well. I’d prefer it to be different but at some point that commonality starts to become the story.

That’s most likely what happened to many buyers. The SE2 sold like crazy. Sure lots of buyers probably weren’t willing to spend an extra $300, but some fraction would have (considering all the extras the 12 mini offers in an even smaller package) and those sales weren’t realized as 12 minis. Next time around that won’t happen, meanwhile the present 12 mini will be marked down $100-$150. At that point it’s a minor upsell from the SE2 which is highly unlikely to drop below $400.

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Maybe Apple staff want to use them (12 mini).

The 12 mini is for people like me who want the best iPhone that is available that will fit in a shirt pocket and not easily fall out. Or maybe the ones who also want better bluetooth connections, now that wired connections are discouraged or unavailable for many earbuds and other accessories.


People, really, this is not that hard. 12 mini for those that want great in a small package, SE for those that want the least expensive iPhone. Compared to 12 vs. 12 Pro that’s a world of difference and plenty of reason to keep both in the lineup. And for sure plenty more than 12 vs. 11 vs. XR which are all also being offered.

It’s a bit ironic that on boards we can go on for years about how Apple should offer this choice or that one. But when they finally do, some will start asking who in the world needs such choice. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. :man_shrugging:

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And yet it appears that the mini market isn’t actually that big. So, yes, those folks going on seem to have a point.

This shows a lack of understanding of marketing. 6% of the phones Apple sell is still a lot of phones, and will justify their development expenses easily. Now if Apple didn’t have the phone then the purchasers will either have bought a larger phone, probably not, or a smaller slower phone, the SE or worst of all another brand. So it is quite likely that they are happy with that. Apple will be doing their consumer research and it has presumable told them that there is demand for 4 sizes of phone, 3 premium and the SE.

Of course they may want to be happier, and then they will make adjustments to their lineup for the iPhone 13.

Maybe, but I’m sure that Apple is not just hoping a product justifies its development expenses.

By that logic, Apple can never have introduced a product that didn’t sell well, as they always will have done their consumer research. I think we all know that that’s not true.

I just stumbled upon an article that has me thinking different about the future of the Mini and SE:

Apple could be considering the Mini and SE as a gateway to new markets for other Apple hardware and services, especially markets where Samsung, etc, might be well established.