After rebounding sharply higher in April, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone sales tumbled 7.7% in May in China compared to the previous month, according to data gathered by CNBC.

China is undergoing its first major recession in decades due to the pandemic, and with jobs at risk due to the economic slowdown, consumer sentiment is in decline. Still, online sales appear to be robust.

Six iPhone 11 devices in different colors

Image source: Apple.

A pause in growth

CNBC reported this morning that data from CINNO Research indicated Apple sold 3.6 million iPhones in China last month, down from 3.9 million units the month before. It did note, however, that level represented an 18% jump from the year-ago period, when it sold 3.05 million iPhones.

China iPhone sales plunged 61% year over year in February to fewer than 500,000 units as the company shut down all of its retail stores as part of moves to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Apple's performance last month is actually better than the industry as a whole as the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology says industry sales were down 20% from April, according to CNBC.

Yet online sales at Apple's App Store were surging, with data from Sensor Tower showing in-country sales jumped 11% sequentially in May to $1.7 billion.

Some analysts remain bullish on the tech stock's growth prospects, pointing to a coming 5G super upgrade cycle, though others are cautious because of Apple's premium pricing.

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