The company surveyed salespeople at the carrier's U.S. stores to get a picture of the market, which is heavily dominated by operators. In its latest survey, 56 percent said that demand for the iPhone SE this year was weaker than the previous iPhone SE, and only 8 percent said demand was stronger.
Apple doesn't seem to be so enthusiastic about the phone either, the report said. "Wave7 Research is not aware of any TV, radio, outdoor or print ads for such devices," he said as quoted by PC Mag, April 19, 2022.
A Verizon representative told the company that not many people knew the phone was released.
Another store representative said the small size of the phone may be a factor in slow sales. Apple seems to be getting that message across the company. After an intense two-year experiment with smaller phones, Apple may be giving up on its iPhone mini line, the report said, with the iPhone 14 not expected to have a mini model.
In the U.S., the iPhone SE may not yet have a lifesaver: prepaid. "Despite Apple's low share in prepayments," the report said, "customers tend to choose the iPhone SE and iPhone 11." Metro, Boost, and Cricket all have iPhone SE offerings, the report said.
The main market of SE may actually be outside the US. In India, the new SE will increase sales there from 5.4 million units in 2021 to 7.5 million in 2022, according to Publication Business Today India.
Apple has more room to grow in India than in the US. Wave7 said that Apple had a 60-62 percent market share across the three major U.S. carriers as of March 2022, but Apple only had a 4.4 percent market share in India, Business Today said.
Apple has shifted some production to India in part to take advantage of "Made in India" tariff discounts, and is now making models in its SE and iPhone 13 lines in India.
Meanwhile The Google Pixel 6 lineup isn't doing well either, with reports of bugs and performance issues helping to limit the market for pixel diehard fans, according to one of the representatives in the Wave7 survey.
Google has used a "spiff" to boost Pixel sales at Verizon. It was an industry term for bribery to salespeople. That's normal in the industry, Samsung does too. "But Google has raised a very high level," Wave7 said.
Outside of Verizon, there appears to be almost no interest in the Pixel line, the report said. A real blow to pixel differentiation, where one respondent told Wave7 that he was selling the Pixel to people who came looking for a Galaxy S22 model when Samsung's flagship line sold out.
Google's next opportunity will come with the mid-range Pixel 6a, which may come out in May.