Checks on Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) website reveal the Cupertino-based hardware maker has limited customer purchases of iPhone models over its online stores to two units in multiple countries.
The purchase caps seem to be aimed at mitigating lingering supply chain and operation issues due to the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. According to Reuters, which first reported the event, the purchase limits appeared in select Asian countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore in addition to the US, UK, Canada and Europe.
The move comes a day after Cupertino reopened all of its stores in China as no new coronavirus cases were reported domestically for the first time since the start of the outbreak.
Nicole Peg, a research analyst that tracks the smartphone sector at Canalys, told Reuters that Apple is likely limiting the sales to prevent hoarding of the iPhones by “grey market” resellers.
“This happened in the past in Asia when there is a new iPhone launch and scalpers saw an opportunity to sell to mainland China, where the new phones were harder to buy at the time,” Peg said.
“Now that stores all over the world are closed, online scalpers see a similar opportunity.”
In other Apple news, Bloomberg reports the next flagship iPhones, with 5G wireless capabilities, are still on schedule to launch in the fall despite manufacturing disruptions in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Apple shares were up less than 1%, or $2.47, to $247.20 at 9:18 a.m. in New York during pre-market trading.