In not so surprising news, global smartphone shipments are down this February 2020 as compared to the same period last year. In fact, it’s “the biggest fall ever in the history of the worldwide smartphone market”, according to Strategy Analytics. The main reason for this is, of course, the COVID-19 Pandemic that is expected to affect so many businesses and economies, aside from the obvious medical and social impact globally. March will probably be even worse as the industry braces for record-low shipments and sales.
The COVID-19 threat has been around since January but this February was when the outbreak truly reached global proportions. Strategy Analytics says that global smartphone shipments this February 2020 went down 38% compared to February 2019. This year, only 61.8 million units shipped while this same period last year, 99.2 million devices shipped worldwide. Now that the virus scare has spread from Asia to North America and Europe, expect numbers to drop by this month.
According to Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, part of the reason for the decline is that a lot of Asian factories were unable to finish manufacturing devices. Consumers were understandably not going to retail stores and buying new smartphones were not high on their list. The fact that supply and demand dramatically plunged in China, where the outbreak started, is also a big factor.
Senior Analyst Yiwen Wu said that even if there have been some “signs of recovery” in China, global sales are still expected to weaken this month now that the rest of the world is being affected by the pandemic. The “affluent consumers” are now unable and unwilling to buy new devices since the priority is to have enough food and supplies as more countries go into lockdown. He says the industry has to come up with online flash sales and generous discounts to get people buying again.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll see more movement and upheaval as countries close their borders and infections and deaths continue to increase based on projections. It’s a very uncertain time for all industries so we’ll continue to monitor things as the world may change beyond recognition.