Global smartphone shipments saw big drop in Q1 2020 because of coronavirus
With many people sheltering at home and some folks getting furloughed or losing their jobs all due to the coronavirus, it's been expected that the smartphone industry would take a hit to start 2020. But this week a report has detailed exactly how big of a hit the industry has taken.
Global smartphone shipments fell by 13% in the first quarter of 2020 to finish at 272 million units. As noted by research firm Canalys , that's the lowest level that worldwide smartphone shipments have been at since 2013.
The report explains that the smartphone market started 2020 in good shape, but then COVID-19 took effect. In February when the coronavirus was focused on China, there were concerns about how factories could build enough smartphones to keep up with demand. Then in March, manufacturing recovered but much of the rest of the world went into lockdown and sales dropped as people lost their jobs and stores closed.
Looking at specific manufacturers, Samsung finished in first for the quarter but saw its smartphone shipments fall 17% year-over-year to finish at 59.6 million for the quarter. Huawei saw its worldwide smartphone shipments fall 17% in Q1 2020 as well, though that may have also been impacted by the company's issue with the US Entity List as well as the coronavirus.
Apple's total smartphone shipments fell, too, but they only dropped 8% to finish at 37.1 million. Xiaomi and Vivo actually saw their shipment numbers grow 9% and 3%, respectively, and all other smartphone vendors saw their shipments drop 21% compared to one year ago.
So yeah, most smartphone makers had a pretty rough quarter. What's worse is that most of them expect the second quarter of 2020 to be even harder.
"Most smartphone companies expect Q2 to represent the peak of the coronavirus’ impact," said Canalys Senior Analyst Ben Stanton. "It will test the mettle of the industry, and some companies, especially offline retailers, will fail without government support. As lockdowns around the world start to lift, the full economic damage will become visible."
"Smartphone companies must adapt their strategies to mitigate the impact, as cashflow will be critical in the coming months," Stanton added. "But if they cut back too much on product spend, marketing spend and new strategic initiatives, they risk losing agility, and will lose ground to rivals once demand bounces back. It is vital to strike a balance."
Have you bought a smartphone recently? If not, do you intend to or has the coronavirus pandemic affected your smartphone buying plans?