Smartphone shipments drop to lowest rate since records began thanks to COVID-19

Smartphone shipments fell at the fastest rate since records began during the first quarter of 2020 as both sales and production across the globe plummet.

In yet another market to be severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, smartphones sales dropped 17 per cent year-on-year according to Strategy Analytics.

IDC also predicted that smartphone sales dropped by 11 per cent, shipping 275 million units in the first three months of the year.

“What started as primarily a supply-side problem initially limited to China has grown into a global economic crisis with the demand-side impact starting to show by the end of the quarter,” IDC’s research director Nabila Popal said.

According to IDC Apple’s iPhone shipments hit just under 37 million, largely unchanged since the start of the pandemic.

READ MORE: Samsung profits dive 56% despite strong Galaxy Note 10 sales

This morning Apple reported sales of $58.3 billion in its second quarter, coming well above analyst estimates of $54.5 billion following a drop in sales during its first quarter as the lockdown began to affect the Chinese market.

Its chief executive Tim Cook said sales in China were now “headed in the right direction”, adding that its second quarter “was an incredible time where we were growing very fast”.

Meanwhile Samsung’s output dropped from around 72 million to 58 million shipments during the quarter.

This morning it also released its quarterly results, announcing it’s the lowest first-quarter sales in five years and warning of more disruption to come in the coming months.

The South Korean company said: “Looking ahead to the second quarter, the company expects the memory business to remain solid, but overall earnings are likely to decline from the previous quarter because Covid-19 will significantly impact demand for several of its core products.”

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