The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to worldwide smartphone shipments to fall by 13% to 272 million units in Q1 2020. For comparison, 313.9 million smartphones were shipped in Q1 2019. The smartphone market had grown continuously in Q3 and Q4 2019 before the coronavirus outbreak led to a dramatic fall in sales worldwide in the first quarter of 2020.
Samsung continued to lead the market with 21.9% market share as it shipped 59.6 million smartphones — a noticeable drop from 71.5 million smartphones that it shipped in the same quarter a year ago. Huawei came in close second and shipped 49 million smartphones and captured 18% of the smartphone market in Q1 2020. It registered a 17% decline in its annual growth and shipped 10.1 million fewer smartphones when compared to the same quarter in 2019. The company has been focusing hard on the Chinese market as the US Entity ban ensures it cannot ship smartphones with Google Play suite pre-loaded worldwide.
Apple shipped 37.1 million iPhones in Q1 2020 and took the third position. Despite the decline in shipments from 40.2 million units in Q1 2019, the company’s market share increased from 12.8% to 13.6%. Xiaomi and Vivo came in fourth and fifth respectively and both companies managed to ship more smartphones in Q1 2020 than they did in the same quarter in 2019. Xiaomi shipped 30.2 million smartphones while Vivo shipped 24.2 million smartphones.
Things are looking bleak in Q2 2020 for the smartphone market as well since the lockdown in most countries has been extended until at least the end of May. As per analyst Ben Stanton, this “will test the mettle of the industry, and some companies, especially offline retailers, will fail without government support.” A number of smartphone companies will have to revisit their strategy once the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak and the lockdown are fully realized.