Despite the iPhone 6S breaking sales records at launch, Apple is expected to report that sales of its flagship handset grew just 1.3% during the final quarter of 2015.

While 1.3% doesn’t seem like that big of a problem in the first quarter of 2015 iPhone sales have grown 46% year-on-year in the past.

According to Reuters, the fact that China is experiencing an economic downturn may have caused the slow growth of sales. China is traditionally one of Apple’s fastest growing markets.

Other reasons cited include Apple’s very own iPhone 6 stealing the glory away from the newer iPhone 6S. Analyst at FBR Capital Markets, Daniel Ives, was quoted as saying, “Apple has become a victim of their own success as the blockbuster iPhone 6 product cycle was hard to replicate.”

The inevitable launch of an “iPhone 7” may also have been the cause of the slow adoption rate of the iPhone 6S. As Ives pointed out, “many customers are either buying an older, cheaper iPhone 6 or waiting for the iPhone 7.”

The bad news doesn’t end there. Apple suppliers, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and Largan Precision Co are forecasting disappointing sales during the first quarter of this year.

During the March quarter of 2015 61.2 million iPhones were sold, projections are estimating that at the same time this year only 54.6 million iPhones will have been sold.

Just last week IT research firm, Gartner reported that more and more people are choosing basic smartphones rather than high-end models from manufacturers such as Apple.

As technology gets cheaper features that were once exclusive to premium handsets are filtering down into cheaper smartphones offering similar functionality at a price that doesn’t break the bank.

All of this does make us wonder, what is Apple’s response going to be when its most popular product is no longer its biggest seller?

Perhaps we’ll see a sub-R4 000 iPhone? Though that might just be wishful thinking…

[Via – Reuters] [Image Cc by 2.0 – Frank Müller]