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Smartphone sales fall in second quarter of 2020

By Fredrick Obura | August 27th 2020 at 15:17:03 GMT +0300

Phone manufacturers felt the heat of COVID-19 in the second quarter of the year as global sales of smartphones to end users totaled 295 million units, a decline of 20.4 per cent

Among the top five smartphone vendors, Samsung experienced the largest decline in sales while Apple’s smartphone sales were nearly flat year-over-year. Although Huawei also declined in smartphone sales year-over-year, it experienced 27.4 per cent growth, quarter-over-quarter, moving it into a virtual tie with Samsung for the No.1 position.

Almost all major markets, except China, continued to face some form of shelter-in-place restrictions for most of the second quarter of 2020 which led to continued declining smartphone demand, according to a report by Gartner.

“The improved situation in China saw demand recovering quarter-over-quarter,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. “Travel restrictions, retail closures and more prudent spending on nonessential products during the pandemic led to the second consecutive quarterly decline in smartphone sales this year.”

Even with increased demand, smartphone sales in China declined seven per cent in the second quarter of 2020, with nearly 94 million smartphones sold. India which adopted rigorous lockdowns (even restricting e-commerce) recorded the worst smartphone sales decline (-46 per cent) among the top five countries in the world.

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Samsung Recorded Largest Decline Among Top Five Global Smartphone Vendors

Samsung sold nearly 55 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2020, a decline of 27.1 per cent year on year (see Table 1). “The COVID-19 pandemic continued to negatively affect Samsung’s performance in the second quarter of 2020,” said Mr. Gupta. “Demand for its flagship S Series smartphones did little to revive its smartphone sales globally.”

Huawei’s smartphone sales dropped 6.8 per cent and totaled 54 million units year on year. “Huawei’s performance in China helped it avoid a worse quarterly performance,” said Mr. Gupta. “Huawei extended its lead in China where it captured 42.6 per cent of China’s smartphone market in the second quarter of 2020. Huawei put in place an aggressive product introduction and sales promotion in China in particular and benefited from the strong support of communications services providers for its 5G smartphones.”

Apple sold 38 million iPhones in the second quarter of 2020, a decline of 0.4 per cent year-over-year. “Apple’s iPhone sales fared better in the quarter than most smartphone vendors in the market and also grew sales quarter-over-quarter,” said Annette Zimmermann, research vice president at Gartner.

“The improved business environment in China helped Apple achieve growth in the country. Besides, the introduction of the new iPhone SE encouraged users of older phones to upgrade their smartphones.”


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