Global Smartphone Shipments Decline 20.2 Percent in Q1 2020: Gartner

The global smartphone market saw its worst decline ever in the first quarter of 2020, with sales to end users plummeting by 20.2 percent, according to Gartner.

The decline, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic fallout, hit all five top vendors — except for Xiaomi, which grew its sales by 1.4 percent year-over-year. Another factor was the shutdown of factories, many in China, which produce the handsets for most of the major global smartphone makers

“The coronavirus pandemic caused the global smartphone market to experience its worst decline ever,” Gartner senior research analyst Anshul Gupta said. “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.”

According to Gartner, hardware makers sold 299 million units in the first quarter of 2020, a decline of 20.2 percent when compared to the 375 million units sold in the same quarter one year ago. IDC previously pegged the figures as 275.8 million units and a drop of 11.7 percent year-over-year.

Samsung was the world’s largest maker of smartphones in the quarter, with its 55.3 million units sold representing 18.5 percent marketshare. But that was also a decline of 22.7 percent YOY.

Huawei came in second with 42.5 million units sold and 14.2 percent marketshare. But Huawei’s decline in sales of 27.3 percent was also the worst of the top five hardware makers. “Huawei will have a challenging year,” Mr. Gupta said. “With the lack of popular Google apps and Google Play store, Huawei is unlikely to attract new smartphone buyers in international markets.”

Rounding out the top five are Apple (41 million units, 13.7 percent marketshare, a decline of 8.2 percent), Xiaomi (27.8 million units, 9.3 percent, 1.4 percent growth), and Oppo (24 million units, 8 percent, -19.1 percent).

“Apple had a strong start to the year thanks to its new product line up that saw strong momentum globally,” said Annette Zimmermann, research vice president at Gartner. “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.”