Global smartphone shipments dropped 16.8% in Q1 2020 as vendors struggled to manage coronavirus-driven production shutdowns, product-launch delays and depressed consumer demand.
The fall impacted all major smartphone brands, with nine of the top-10 OEMs suffering shipment declines, according to global research group, Omdia.
The smartphone market was sent reeling early in Q1 by the shutdown of production at facilities in China, Omdia smartphone research and analysis director, Jusy Hong said. “While concerns about this situation have been alleviated, the smartphone brands also faced new challenges, including disrupted launch schedules for new phones.”
Even more troubling for smartphone makers was a major decline in global demand due to government lockdown mandates, she said.
Despite expected rebounds in some countries, the rest of the year is expected to be challenging for smartphone OEMs with Omdia forecasting global smartphone shipments will decline 13.1% this year.
Samsung and Huawei each suffered shipment declines of 17%, while Apple dropped 12%. Motorola declined 35.4%, despite the publicity surrounding the launch of RAZR with its foldable display, and with or without the impact of the pandemic LG continues to struggle with its mobile handset division with shipments declining 37.4%.
“The smartphone market will face major struggles in the first half of 2020 as different countries experience the initial shock and recovery periods at different times. That’s why OEMs are more afraid of second-quarter sales results,” Hong said. “However, Omdia does expect the smartphone market to start to recover in some countries and regions in the second half of the year.”
Because of the cancellation of the Mobile World Congress, and uncertainty in the supply chain, original product schedules have also had to be re-evaluated.
The impact of the outbreak on the smartphone business has now shifted almost completely to the demand side of the equation. While handsets can be produced at nearly normal levels, the markets for these handsets are mostly in some state of shutdown, Hong said.
“Some countries have made more progress in dealing with the outbreak, while others are still in the midst of fighting the pandemic, and still others won’t feel the full effects of the pandemic until later in the year,” she said.