The forecast came ahead of the launch of the iPhone in the US, where Apple released four new models, all with 5G capability.
Research director Tom Kang said, about Apple sales for this year: “Apple has done a great job outperforming the global smartphone market. During the COVID-19 low point in Q2 2020, Apple was helped by the timely launch of the iPhone SE, which created a new, low price point for iPhones at US$399 (A$557).
"It helped Apple get through the worst months of COVID-19 and its lockdown periods. In addition, the iPhone 11 has proved to have great longevity, still selling over one million devices per week on the brink of a refresh. The SE and iPhone 11 helped maintain momentum through Q3 as the general market remained negative.”
Other reasons why Apple fared well this year were the big upgrades to the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 11 family, with opening sales for the latter in the final quarter of 2019 being the first year-on-year growth since the final-quarter 2016 sales of the iPhone 7.
For this year, Counterpoint predicted a 1% rise in Apple sales in the final quarter, despite the delayed launch of the iPhone 12 models.
Research director Jeff Fieldhack said: “There is significant pent-up demand from iOS subscribers putting off upgrades until these 5G devices launch. In addition, options for display sizes and price points will help drive sales.
"Also benefitting Apple during this smartphone refresh will be greater efforts by global mobile operators to upgrade the iOS installed base to 5G. In countries where 5G has begun to roll out, operators will have significant monetary incentive to migrate LTE iOS subscribers to their near-empty 5G networks.
"Look for significant promotional offers, especially in 5G rollout countries. The US is likely to see its most competitive marketing wars in years, which will benefit Apple. European carriers will also see elevated levels of marketing. But China is not expected to be as aggressive.”