Big drop in global smartphone shipments for 2020

The International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts a year-on-year drop of 11.9% in 2020 smartphone shipments.

This follows the largest-ever year-on-year decline in history in the first quarter of 2020.

The drop in shipments is expected to be larger in the first half of 2020, with a predicted 18.2% decline over this period.

The decline is due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which the IDC said continues to affect consumer spending.

It also believes that global smartphone shipments are not expected to return to a position of growth until the first quarter of 2021.

“What started as a supply-side crisis has evolved into a global demand-side problem,” said senior research analyst at the IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers Sangeetika Srivastava.

“Nationwide lockdowns and rising unemployment have reduced consumer confidence and reprioritized spending towards essential goods, directly impacting the uptake of smartphones in the short term.”

“On the brighter side, 5G is expected to be a catalyst throughout the forecast period, which will play a vital role in worldwide smartphone market recovery in 2021.”

Regional prospects

Despite a heavy initial struggle in the country, China is expected only to see a single-digit decline in 2020 due in part to factories resuming operations and supply chains becoming more fluent.

“China’s recovery has been impressive to say the least, especially given the initial impact of COVID-19 on the country,” said program VP of the IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers Ryan Reith.

In contrast, European markets which have been severely impacted by the pandemic – including Italy and Spain – are set to cause a double-digit decline in the region.

Reith believes that the economic issues faced by the world will result in fluctuations in the vendor and price-tier landscapes.

“We believe this will result in even more aggressively priced 5G smartphones than expected prior to the pandemic,” he said.

“This could result in some share wins for the vendors that position their portfolios to capitalize on this change.”

Now read: Biggest-ever drop in global smartphone sales

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Big drop in global smartphone shipments for 2020