Downturn set to continue as virus moves through Europe and America
Global smartphone shipments saw the biggest ever year-on-year decline in February, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.
Strategy estimates that global shipments last month stood at 61.8 million, a decline of 38 per cent from 99.2 million during the same month last year.
This was driven mainly by shop closures and supply chain disruption caused by Covid-19 across Asia. The continent saw collapsing demand due to strict social distancing measures implemented across countries, which in turn decreased manufacturing output, dragging down sales across the world.
The firm anticipates that the slump will continue throughout spring, as Asian countries recover slowly and the virus spreads through Europe and North America.
“Despite tentative signs of recovery in China, we expect global smartphone shipments overall to remain weak throughout March 2020,” said Strategy senior analyst Yiwen Wu. “The coronavirus scare has spread to Europe, North America and elsewhere, and hundreds of millions of affluent consumers are in lockdown, unable or unwilling to shop for new devices.
“The smartphone industry will have to work harder than ever to lift sales in the coming weeks, such as online flash sales or generous discounts on bundling with hot products like smartwatches.”
CCS Insight has reduced its smartphone shipments forecast for 2020 by 200 million devices due to the pandemic. It now estimates that 1.65 billion smartphones will be sold, a nine per cent decrease on 2019.