iPhone 12 mini sales stunk in January — what this means for the iPhone 13

iPhone 12 mini review
(Image credit: Future)

Apple's iPhone 12 mini sales tanked in January, capturing only 5% of all iPhone 12 sales last month, according to market-analysis group Counterpoint Research (via Reuters). The iPhone 12 mini's poor performance reveals that the demand for pocket-sized phones isn't as high as Apple thought it would be.

Pointing out a note from J.P. Morgan analyst William Yang, Reuters stated that the Cupertino-based tech giant may cease production of the iPhone 12 mini in Q2 of 2021. As reported last month, Apple is already planning to slash iPhone 12 mini production to redirect its efforts toward its more successful upper-tier phones. Could the iPhone 13 mini be on the chopping block?

iPhone 12 mini sales are sluggish — small smartphones are losing their appeal

With the introduction of the mini, Apple may have thought that, along with the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone Pro Max, it was capturing all consumer types: budget-friendly Bob, mid-range Mark, and luxury-lover Logan. However, it seems like the $699 pocket-sized phone got overlooked as many flocked to secure the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max instead.

According to Counterpoint Research, the share of phone purchasers who opt for small-screen phones are low — consumers prefer devices with large screen real estate (over 6 inches), even if that means their main-driver phone won't fit snugly in their jean pockets.

Counterpoint Research

Counterpoint Research (Image credit: Counterpoint Research)

“... Screens under 6.0” now account for around 10% share of all smartphones sold,” Kang said.

The 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini is underrated. I'll admit that I, too, have a preference for gigantic phones, but when I reviewed the tiny iPhone 12 variant, I was surprised to find out that it's a bite-sized beast. We were shocked to find out that the iPhone 12 mini outperformed the iPhone 12 Pro Max on a few of our tests, including Geekbench 5.

However, I can see why consumers ignored the iPhone 12 mini from an optics point-of-view; it looks obsolete — like a decade-old phone dusted off from an attic. Larger phones look modern, newer and en vogue — I can't say the same for smaller phones. No one wants to purchase a brand-spankin' new phone with an ancient design.

That being said, with the iPhone 12 mini sales tanking and the upper-tier iPhone 12s doing fairly well, we can't help but wonder if Apple plans to nix the mini from its future smartphone lines. As it stands now, iPhone 13 rumors reveal that Apple still plans to release a four-model line later this year, but with the Cupertino-based tech giant struggling to meet its mini sales goal this month, we can't help but wonder if Apple will change its strategy.

Though the mini sales stunk in January, don't worry about Apple — the company is doing just fine. Last month, Apple reported nearly $66 billion in quarterly revenue from its iPhone portfolio, beating record-setting numbers it achieved in 2018.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!