Global Smartphone Sales Suffer Worst Decline in History Due To Ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic

The global coronavirus outbreak, which is believed to originate from China, has adversely affected economies around the world. In the technology industry, the impact has also been felt with major segments – production and consumption – affected severely.

According to the recent Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report from the International Data Corporation (IDC), smartphone shipments have declined by 11.7% year over year in the first quarter of 2020. IDC says this is the most significant annual decline ever.

Total smartphone shipments globally stood at 275.8 million during the period.

China recorded the largest decline of all the markets, with a 20.3% drop year over year. It’s no surprise that this is the region that saw the worst decrease, considering that the outbreak is said to have emanated from within, thus resulting in a countrywide shutdown.

Although the rest of the world has also followed suit and shut down in various capacities, China is the most critical region given that it harbors the global smartphone supply chain, which, as the lockdown commenced, was strained.

“What started as primarily a supply-side problem initially limited to China has grown into a global economic crisis with the demand-side impact starting to show by the end of the quarter,” said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

Towards the end of Q1, the supply chain started to bounce back, although this was the time when other major economies shut down profoundly affecting demand.

“Consumers get increasingly cautious about their spending in such uncertain times, and it is hard to think smartphone purchases won’t suffer as a result,” he added.

The table below shows how various smartphone companies performed in Q1, 2020.

Company 1Q20 Shipment Volume 1Q20 Market Share 1Q19 Shipment Volume 1Q19 Market Share Year-Over-Year Change
1. Samsung 58.3 21.1% 71.9 23.0% -18.9%
2. Huawei 49.0 17.8% 59.1 18.9% -17.1%
3. Apple 36.7 13.3% 36.8 11.8% -0.4%
4. Xiaomi 29.5 10.7% 27.8 8.9% 6.1%
5. vivo 24.8 9.0% 23.2 7.4% 7.0%
Others 77.5 28.1% 93.5 29.9% -17.2%
Total 275.8 100.0% 312.3 100.0% -11.7%

Source: IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, Apr 29, 2020

Mid-April, Gartner research also reported that the PC market had its worst decline in 13 years. Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner, terming coronavirus outbreak as the “single most significant influencing factor.”

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin Wanjala has been writing about technology for over 2 years. He writes about different topics in the consumer tech space. He loves streaming music, programming, and gaming during downtimes.

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