Considering its lower price, and the fact it’s the smaller iPhone people have been asking for for years, you wouldn’t be the only person to assume the iPhone 12 mini would sell quite well. But you’d be very wrong.
New sales numbers from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners show that the iPhone 12 mini was the least popular iPhone 12 model. That’s probably not the kind of consumer reaction Apple was hoping for.
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The entire iPhone 12 range has been rather successful, and in the United States they accounted for 76% of all iPhone sales in October and November. That’s up from 2019, where the iPhone 11 range accounted for just 69% of iPhone sales.
The standard iPhone 12 accounted for 27% of total sales, with the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max coming closely behind. Surprisingly, the iPhone 12 mini accounted for only 6% of sales, and judging from the graph below it was outsold by the iPhone SE.
CIRP notes that the iPhone SE may have been partially responsible for the poor sales of the iPhone 12 mini. The $399 SE is significantly cheaper than the $699 iPhone 12 mini, and comes in a similarly small form factor, though the 12 mini is slightly smaller, and packs more screen space into its tiny frame.
CIRP also notes that Apple's staggered release schedule — launching the iPhone 12 mini and 12 Pro Max a month after the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro — make it harder to compare early sales. All three iPhone 11 models went on sale on the same day, after all. You also have to account for the availability of other cheaper devices, like the iPhone XR and the newly discounted iPhone 11.
But those won’t be the only reasons why people gravitated away from the iPhone 12 mini. For starters, its smaller design means it has much worse battery life (7 hours 28 minutes on 5G), and touchscreen issues were discovered shortly after launch.
The unexpected early popularity of the iPhone 12 Pro likely played a part, too, thanks to the phone’s stronger battery performance, upgraded camera capabilities, and the 512GB storage option.
It’s not clear what this means for the future of the smaller iPhone flagship, but let’s hope the the iPhone 12 mini (and the rumored upcoming iPhone 13 mini) will sell well enough for Apple to continue giving people the option of having a smaller phone.