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CCS Insight: Q2 mobile sales down 20pc on 2019, but less than expected

Paul Lipscombe
July 20, 2020

Drop was less than expected amid the coronavirus lockdown 

UK mobile phone sales dropped 20 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter, though CCS Insight said this was actually better than it expected.

The analyst firm had expected sales to decline around 30 per cent, based on trends it saw in China as the country opened up its economy in March post-lockdown. There, sales fell 36 per cent in Q2.

CCS Insight VP of forecasting Marina Koytcheva said the better- than-expected performance was down to people in the UK being comfortable with web-based shopping.

“Firstly, the British people are very comfortable with shopping online or over the phone, and clearly those who weren’t at the start of the pandemic became very quickly accustomed to it.”

Almost half of UK phone buyers went online at some point when purchasing their current handset, according to CCS Insight.

Koytcheva also said that continued earning through the furlough scheme has helped, alongside the nation’s appetite for Apple and Samsung phones.

“For owners of these phones, but particularly for iPhone users, upgrading to a new device of the same class from the same brand is a relatively risk-free purchase,” she said.

People know exactly what they’re getting, even without seeing the phone in a shop.”

Delayed recovery 

Koytcheva doesn’t, however, expect the overall market to recover to pre- Covid levels until next year.

“Despite the relatively good news from the second quarter, we remain cautious about the remainder of the year,” she said – with CCS Insight predicting that demand for mobile phones will drop nine per cent year- on-year in the second half of 2020.

“Even assuming no further major lockdowns, we’re already swimming in the familiar but dangerous waters of an economic recession,” she added.

Any potential delays in the launch of Apple’s latest iPhone will also have an impact on sales, warns Koytcheva.

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