Bengaluru, NFAPost: Going by the expected line of business activity amid Covid-19, global sales of smartphones to end users declined 20.2% in the first quarter of 2020.

According to the study report titled ‘Market Share: PCs, Ultramobiles and Mobile Phones, All Countries, 1Q20 Update’ by Gartner, the demands declined as consumers stopped spending on nonessential products during the first quarter due to uncertainties brought on by the pandemic.

Handset makers

All of the top five smartphone vendors recorded a decline in the first quarter of 2020, except for Xiaomi which managed a surprise growth of 1.4%. While the Chinese handset maker got a surprise hike in sales primarily due to international sales, other companetitiors like Samsung and Huawei and Oppo all saw double-digit drop-offs at 22.7%, 27.3% and 19.1%. The premium brand Apple registered a decline of 8.2%. All other companies combined registered a sizable 24.2% loss for Q1.

Besides the global economic slump, many companies are facing the harsh realities of Covid-19 pandemic across the globe. Also, developed markets are already witnessing plateauing/declining smartphone sales. Even though the arrival of 5G brought some enthusiasm, the momentum is yet to pick up. The companies are also facing the brunt of supply chain constraints amid this pandemic. Apple’s slide wasn’t as bad as it might have been thanks to a strong start to the year.

“The coronavirus pandemic caused the global smartphone market to experience its worst decline ever. Most of the leading Chinese manufacturers and Apple were severely impacted by the temporary closures of their factories in China and reduced consumer spending due to the global shelter-in-place,” said Gartner senior research analyst Anshul Gupta in a statement.

Although Samsung”s smartphone sales declined 22.7% in the first quarter of 2020, the company still maintained the No. 1 spot with 18.5% market share.

“Covid-19 negatively impacted Samsung”s smartphone sales during the quarter. However, the decline could have been much worse. Its limited presence in China and the location of its manufacturing facilities outside of China prevented a steeper fall,” said Gartner senior research analyst Anshul Gupta.

Huawei recorded the worst performance among the top five global smartphone vendors in the first quarter of 2020. Sales of its smartphones fell to 42.5 million units, a decline of 27.3% year over year. Even with its first ever decline in smartphone sales, Huawei held on to the No. 2 position with 14.2% market share.

“Huawei will have a challenging year. It has developed the Huawei Mobile Service (HMS) ecosystem, but with the lack of popular Google apps and Google Play store, Huawei is unlikely to attract new smartphone buyers in international markets,” said said Gartner senior research analyst Anshul Gupta.

While Apple is not as dependent on China as Huawei, Oppo or Vivo are, it faced supply constraints and store closures which negatively impacted iPhone sales in the first quarter of 2020.

Gartner’s Annette Zimmermann said if COVID-19 did not happen, the vendor would have likely seen its iPhone sales reached record level in the quarter.

“Supply chain disruptions and declining consumer spending put a halt to this positive trend in February. Apple’s ability to serve clients via its online stores and its production returning to near normal levels at the end of March helped recover some of the early positive momentum,” said Gartner’s Annette Zimmermann.

Apple”s iPhone sales declined 8.2 per cent, totaling 41 million units in the first quarter of 2020. Oppo”s smartphone sales fell 19.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2020. All other companies combined experienced a sales decline of 24.2 per cent, according to Gartner.

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