On the morning of May 1, Beijing time, market research firm IDC released data on the global smartphone market in the first quarter of 2020 on Friday. Data show that in the first quarter, global smartphone shipments fell by 11.7% year-on-year to 275.8 million units.
According to IDC, global smartphone shipments typically decline quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter, with an average quarter-on-quarter decline of 15% to 20% over the past three years. However, the first quarter of 2020 saw the largest year-over-year drop ever. This is because the new crown virus epidemic started in the first quarter, and the first quarter was also the peak of the epidemic in China. By the end of the first quarter, the outbreak had also spread to the rest of the world.
By region, the Chinese market saw the largest decline in the first quarter of 2020, with shipments down 20.3% year-on-year. Since the Chinese market accounts for almost 1/4 of global shipments, it has a huge impact on the overall market. On the other hand, the global market’s reliance on China’s smartphone supply chain has also created problems. On the other hand, the US and Western European markets declined by 16.1% and 18.3% year-on-year, respectively.
Nabila Popal, research director at IDC, said: “What started as a supply-side problem in China has now turned into a global economic crisis. The demand-side problem started to emerge at the end of the first quarter. Although as IDC Supply chains in China began to recover by the end of the quarter, as expected, but major global economies went into sweeping quarantines, resulting in pent-up consumer demand. Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about spending during these times of heightened uncertainty. Caution, so it’s hard to believe that smartphone purchases won’t be affected. The drop in demand, coupled with the closure of retail stores around the world, has had a severe impact on all consumer device markets, including mobile phones. Uncertainty and the long-term impact on the macro economy, mobile phone manufacturers are rethinking their outlook for 2020.”
IDC researchers also said that demand in China was better than expected in March as new coronavirus cases began to slow. However, the recovery in March was largely due to previously pent-up demand. The rebound is unlikely to last as the global economic downturn is also expected to weigh on China and consumer sentiment, with only the fourth quarter of this year expected to post year-on-year growth.
Among the top five manufacturers, Samsung shipped 58.3 million smartphones in the first quarter, down 18.9% year-on-year. However, Samsung still holds the top spot with a 21.1% market share. Samsung launched its high-end flagship Galaxy S20, and the A-series phones continue to be successful.
Huawei’s shipments fell 17.1% year-on-year, but ranked second with a 17.8% market share. Huawei has cut prices for the Mate 30, P30 series, and the Honor V30 and 9X series ahead of schedule, while promoting the diversification of online and offline channels to cope with the impact of the market downturn.
Apple shipped 36.7 million iPhones in the first quarter, ranking third with a market share of 13.3%. Apple’s shipments fell only 0.4% year-on-year, the smallest decline among the top three manufacturers. This is largely due to the continued success of the iPhone 11. Going forward, the recent launch of the new iPhone SE could be a big help if economic conditions cause consumers to gravitate toward lower-priced products.
Xiaomi’s shipments increased by 6.1% year-on-year, and its market share exceeded 10% for the first time. In India, the first-quarter figures were aided by Xiaomi’s launch of new Poco and Redmi products ahead of the start of the full quarantine.
Vivo re-entered the top five with a market share of 9.0% in the quarter, with shipments increasing by 7.0% year-on-year, the highest growth rate among the top five. The success of Vivo’s mid- to low-end Y-series and S-series phones in India is a key driver.
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