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Global smartphone market suffers largest annual decline in history due to coronavirus pandemic

Global smartphone market suffers largest annual decline in history due to coronavirus pandemic
The coronavirus has hit the global smartphone market hard, sinking worldwide shipments by up to 13 percent in the first quarter of 2020, new data from analyst firms shows.

While the International Data Corporation (IDC) says that the smartphones shipments tumbled 11.7 percent, analysts from Counterpoint Research and Canalys indicate that they fell even worse - by 13 percent. Whichever numbers are more accurate, this means that the global smartphone market declined the fastest ever. 

Companies shipped fewer than 300 million smartphones in the first three months of 2020, with the IDC quarterly mobile tracker saying the shipping figures stood at 275.8 million.

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China, which was the first country to suffer from a coronavirus outbreak, saw the largest regional decline, with year-on-year smartphone shipments dropping more than 20 percent, according to the IDC. Separate research by Canalys puts the figure a little lower, saying that smartphone shipments in the world’s largest market tumbled 18 percent year-on-year.

China has also lost some market share due to the pandemic, as it declined by four percent from a year earlier, Counterpoint noted. Western Europe and the US also faced a huge decline in smartphone shipments, falling over 18 percent and 16 percent respectively, the IDC said.

The troubles in the massive Chinese market, which constitutes almost a quarter of worldwide shipments, has turned into “a global economic crisis,” the IDC noted. And while the world’s second-largest economy has started slowly rebounding, complete lockdown in other parts of the world has crushed demand for smartphones as consumers become more cautious about their spending.

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“This drop in demand, combined with the lockdowns and closures of retail shops across the globe, strongly impacted all consumer device markets, including mobile phones,” said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. 

As for vendors, Samsung still holds the leading position in the market, followed by Huawei and Apple.

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