Global smartphone sales declined 20.2% in the first quarter of 2020, according to analyst firm, Gartner. Lockdowns combined with the economic uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic led to demand collapsing as consumers stopped spending on nonessential products during the first quarter.
Samsung, Huawei and Oppo perform the worst out of the Big 5
All of the top five smartphone vendors recorded a decline in the first quarter of 2020, except for Xiaomi (see table). Strong sales of Redmi devices in international markets and aggressive online channel focus led Xiaomi to achieve better than expected sales. Although Samsung’s smartphone sales declined 22.7% in the first quarter of 2020, the company still maintained the No. 1 spot with 18.5% market share.
|1Q20 Market Share (%)||1Q19
|1Q19 Market Share (%)||1Q20-1Q19 Growth (%)|
Samsung built more inventory in the channel in preparation of new smartphone launches but its inefficient online channel combined with the lockdown led to much weaker sales to end-users than into the channel.
Huawei recorded the worst performance among the top five global smartphone vendors in the first quarter of 2020. Sales of smartphones fell to 42.5 million units, a decline of 27.3% year over year. Even with its first-ever decline in smartphone sales, Huawei held on to the No. 2 position with 14.2% market share.
While Apple is not as dependent on China as Huawei, Oppo or Vivo are, it faced supply constraints and store closures which negatively impacted iPhone sales in the first quarter of 2020. However, the impact of the pandemic was less significant than for the other top vendors. Apple’s iPhone sales declined 8.2%, totaling 41 million units in the first quarter of 2020.
Oppo’s smartphone sales fell 19.1% in the first quarter of 2020. Oppo’s offline distribution which is one of its strengths suffered as the work from home trend forced consumers and businesses to purchase products online. To grow its sales and market share, it is paramount that Oppo strengthens its online channel.
The coronavirus pandemic caused the global smartphone market to experience its worst decline ever. Most of the leading Chinese manufacturers and Apple were severely impacted by the temporary closures of their factories in China and reduced consumer spending due to the global shelter-in-place.
Anshul Gupta, senior research analyst, Gartner