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Smartphone sales plummet again

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The worldwide smartphone market shrunk by 20.2 percent in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same period last year, according to a new report from analyst firm Gartner.

The analyst house claims the steep fall in shipments is a direct consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, with a vast number of people remaining indoors and cutting back on non-essential spending. 

“The coronavirus pandemic caused the global smartphone market to experience its worst decline ever,” said Anshul Gupta, Senior Research Analyst at Gartner.

“Most of the leading Chinese manufacturers and Apple were severely impacted by the temporary closures of their factories in China and reduced consumer spending due to the global shelter-in-place.”

With the exception of Xiaomi, all of the top five smartphone vendors recorded a steep decline in the first quarter of the year. Xiaomi managed to achieve strong results, Gartner says, with impressive Redmi sales in international markets and an “aggressive online channel”.

Samsung, despite a 22.7 percent decline in sales, still managed to hold onto the number one spot, with 18.5 percent market share.

Apple also endured a challenging quarter, crippled by supply constraints and store closures. It recorded an 8.2 percent drop in sales, shipping a total of 41 million units.

“Apple had a strong start to the year thanks to its new product line up that saw strong momentum globally. If Covid-19 did not happen, the vendor would have likely seen its iPhone sales reached record level in the quarter. Supply chain disruptions and declining consumer spending put a halt to this positive trend in February,” said Annette Zimmermann, Research Vice President at Gartner.

“Apple’s ability to serve clients via its online stores and its production returning to near normal levels at the end of March helped recover some of the early positive momentum.”