Global sales of smartphones fell by a fifth (20.4%) in the second quarter of the year, the technology research firm Gartner says, adding that this meant only 295 million units were sold during the period.
Samsung, the top-seller for the quarter, saw the biggest drop in sales, while Apple experienced a quarter that was mostly flat, the firm said, adding that while Huawei’s sales also fell year-on-year, its sales grew 27.4% quarter-on-quarter, making it equal with Samsung for the quarter.
Gartner said most major markets, apart from China, had some restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, and this had led to declining smartphone demand.
“The improved situation in China saw demand recovering quarter- over-quarter,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. “Travel restrictions, retail closures and more prudent spending on non-essential products during the pandemic led to the second consecutive quarterly decline in smartphone sales this year.”
But even in China there was a fall, with only 94 million devices sold, a drop of 7%. India, the second biggest smartphone market, had the worst decline, with a drop of 46% in sales.
Samsung’s sales were down to 55 million units, a fall of 27.1% year-on-year. Said Gupta: “The COVID-19 pandemic continued to negatively affect Samsung’s performance in the second quarter of 2020. Demand for its flagship S Series smartphones did little to revive its smartphone sales globally.”
Gartner said Huawei’s sales fell by 6.8% year-on-year with the company selling 54 million smartphones for the quarter. Gupta said Huawei’s performance in China helped it avoid a worse quarterly performance.
“Huawei extended its lead in China where it captured 42.6% of China’s smartphone market in the second quarter of 2020,” he said. “Huawei put in place an aggressive product introduction and sales promotion in China, in particular, and benefitted from the strong support of communications services providers for its 5G smartphones.”
Apple did not have such a bad quarter compared to 2019, with sales of 38 million iPhones, a drop of just 0.4% year-on-year.
Annette Zimmermann, research vice-president at Gartner, said the company fared better in the quarter than most smartphone vendors in the market and also grew sales quarter-over-quarter.
“The improved business environment in China helped Apple achieve growth in the country,” she said. “In addition, the introduction of the new iPhone SE encouraged users of older phones upgrade their smartphones.”
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