Apple Vice President Greg Joswiak introduces the iPhone SE during an event at the Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California
Reuters/Stephen Lam
Hoping for big things from a small package

Global interest in the iPhone SE is weaker than for earlier models, but not in two key markets

By Joon Ian Wong

Apple’s new, small iPhone isn’t generating as much interest among consumers as its earlier phone launches, according to data from web traffic analytics company SimilarWeb. Traffic to Apple’s website didn’t spike as much after the iPhone SE was announced compared to traffic surges after Apple’s previous two iPhone models were launched.

Here’s a chart of traffic to Apple’s websites around its last three iPhone launches:

Traffic to Apple’s website doesn’t necessarily translate to iPhone sales, of course. Apple hasn’t said how many iPhone SEs have been ordered, and in the past Apple has announced “opening weekend” sales for its iPhones roughly two weeks after launch. The SE was announced about a week and a half ago, so an announcement isn’t yet due. But here’s what each iPhone’s opening weekend sales looked like:

Neil Cybart, an independent Apple analyst who writes at Above Avalon, says he believes SE sales will be a “fraction” of those for 6 and 6s, and their plus-sized counterparts. “The iPhone SE is the replacement for the 5s. Accordingly, I would expect demand to be a fraction of that seen for the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus,” he told Quartz.

While overall web traffic may be disappointing, visits to Apple’s website from India and China following the SE announcement were well above the global average of about 80%, with jumps of 160% and 150%, respectively, according to SimilarWeb. By Cybart’s estimates, Apple could have sold up to 2 million SEs over opening weekend.

That’s good news for the prospects of Apple’s cheapest phone, which is priced for emerging markets.