Global smartphone sales plummet due to COVID-19

Smartphone sales decreased by 20.4% in the second quarter of 2020, reports Gartner.

Sales totalled 295 million units compared with the 370 million sold in the same period last year, and Gartner attributed the decline to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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,” said Gartner senior research director Anshul Gupta.

Gupta noted that the magnitude of lockdowns in different countries played a role in how large the decrease in sales was in these regions.

“The improved situation in China saw demand recovering quarter-over-quarter,” said Gupta.

Additionally, Chinese smartphone sales only declined by 7% year-on-year, compared to India – which adopted strong lockdown measures – suffering a 46% decline in sales.

Samsung hit the hardest

According to the report, Samsung suffered the worst year-on-year decline of major smartphone brands.

Sales dropped by 27.1% year-on-year, culminating in a total global smartphone sales figure of nearly 55 million in Q2 2020.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continued to negatively affect Samsung’s performance in the second quarter of 2020,” said Gupta.

“Demand for its flagship S Series smartphones did little to revive its smartphone sales globally.”

Apple unaffected

In contrast, Apple’s year-on-year sales volumes barely changed and totalled 38.4 million units.

Compared to last year’s Q2 sales figure of 38.5 million units, Apple suffered a decline of just 0.4%.

“Apple’s iPhone sales fared better in the quarter than most smartphone vendors in the market and also grew sales quarter-over-quarter,” said Gartner research VP Annette Zimmermann.

Zimmerman also noted that the introduction of the new iPhone SE encouraged users of older phones to upgrade their smartphones.

Relatively minor decline for Huawei

Huawei’s smartphone sales dropped by 6.8% year-on-year, totalling 54 million units sold over Q2.

While the decline is notable, Samsung’s decline was significantly higher, and this has resulted in Samsung and Huawei’s sales figures being almost identical.

“Huawei’s performance in China helped it avoid a worse quarterly performance,” said Gupta.

“Huawei extended its lead in China where it captured 42.6% 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,” Gupta said.

Smartphone sales data

The nearest competitors to the “big 3” – Xiaomi and Oppo – both suffered major year-on-year declines in quarterly sales.

Xiaomi’s smartphone sales declined by 21.5% year-on-year, while Oppo’s sales declined by 15.9%.

Gartner’s data can be viewed below.

Quarterly smartphone sales
Smartphone vendor Q2 2019 sales Q2 2020 sales Growth
Samsung 75,111,800 54,759,400 -27.1%
Huawei 58,055,700 54,125,000 -6.8%
Apple 38,522,900 38,386,100 -0.4%
Xiaomi 33,250,700 26,095,200 -21.5%
Oppo 28,070,200 23,612,100 -15.9%
Others 137,282,500 97,692,100 -28.8%
Total 370,293,900 294,669,900 -20.4%

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Global smartphone sales plummet due to COVID-19