Smartphone sales plummeted by 38% year-on-year in February 2020 due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, according to research from Strategy Analytics.
Executive Director of the company Neil Mawston said that this was the biggest drop in shipments in the history of the global smartphone market.
“Supply and demand of smartphones plunged in China, slumped across Asia, and slowed in the rest of the world. It is a period the smartphone industry will want to forget,” Mawston stated.
While February 2019 saw shipments of 99.2 million units, only 61.8 million smartphones were sold last month. Shipments in February 2020 were down 39% when compared to January 2020.
Asia hit worst
Director at Strategy Analytics Linda Sui explained that the effects of the virus’s outbreak were particularly clear in the Asian market.
“Smartphone demand collapsed in Asia last month due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and this dragged down shipments across the world,” Sui stated.
Additionally, most of the world’s smartphones sold in other countries are made in this region.
“Some Asian factories were unable to manufacture smartphones, while many consumers were unable or unwilling to visit retail stores and buy new devices,” Sui said.
Just the beginning
Strategy Analytics senior analyst Yiwen Wu warned that despite early signs of recovery in China, global smartphone sales were likely to remain weak in March.
“The coronavirus scare has spread to Europe, North America, and elsewhere, and hundreds of millions of affluent consumers are in lockdown, unable or unwilling to shop for new devices,” Wu said.
She said that smartphone retailers would have to find innovative ways to get their stock off the shelves.
“The smartphone industry will have to work harder than ever to lift sales in the coming weeks, such as online flash sales or generous discounts on bundling with hot products like smartwatches.”
The full Strategy Analytics report can be viewed here.