In recent quarters we’ve seen the number of smartphone shipments across the globe either remaining flat or increasing/decreasing slightly due to pricing of devices, geopolitical tensions and a saturation of phones in the market.
That was expected to change as a result of the turmoil that COVID-19 has wrought for manufacturers and supply chains, as well as consumers and their appetite for new consumer technology.
The latest report from research firm Gartner, however, points to an almost unprecedented decline in smartphone shipments for Q2 of 2020. More specifically the firm has noted a decline of 20.4 percent in the second quarter to 295 million devices being shipped as of August.
While all the vendors have retained their respective positions in terms of shipments and market shares, according to Gartner’s numbers, there has still been a decline across the industry, with Samsung suffering most notably.
“Among the top five smartphone vendors, Samsung experienced the largest decline in sales while Apple’s smartphone sales were nearly flat year-over-year. Although Huawei also declined in smartphone sales year-over-year, it experienced 27.4% growth, quarter-over-quarter, moving it into a virtual tie with Samsung for the No.1 position,” the research firm’s report states.
As for why Apple was able to weather the storm, Gartner says its new iPhone SE device and focus on the Chinese market helped greatly.
“The improved business environment in China helped Apple achieve growth in the country. In addition, the introduction of the new iPhone SE encouraged users of older phones upgrade their smartphones,” explains Annette Zimmermann, research vice president at Gartner.
The same rings true for Huawei in part, with it only suffering a 6.8 percent decline thanks to the robustness of the Chinese market and an appetite for 5G devices in the region.
“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,” adds Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner.
With things yet to fully return to normal, a similarly poor Q3 and Q4 is quite likely. It should therefore prove interesting to see how vendors adjust their smartphone strategies accordingly.