Calling it the biggest fall ever in the history of worldwide smartphone shipments, Strategy Analytics has noted that the global shipments witnessed a steep decline of 38 per cent on a year-over-year (YoY) basis in February 2020. Attributing the decline to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the market research firm points out that the pandemic forced the companies to shut their factories in China, which is a global manufacturing hub.
The development doesn’t come as a surprise because the signs of the slowdown were already prominent. Several media outlets reported that tech giants were facing shortage of supply of their smartphones and other electronic goods due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Strategy Analytics says that the global smartphone shipments in February of last year were 99.2 million units. As compared to this, the shipments dropped down to 61.8 million units in February 2020.
‘Smartphone demand collapsed in Asia last month, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, and this dragged down shipments across the world. Some Asian factories were unable to manufacture smartphones, while many consumers were unable or unwilling to visit retail stores and buy new devices,’ said Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics.
Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, ‘Supply and demand of smartphones plunged in China, slumped across Asia, and slowed in the rest of the world. It is a period the smartphone industry will want to forget.’
The market research firm, however, said that there are tentative signs of recovery in China. According to Yiwen Wu, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, despite tentative signs of recovery in China, the global smartphone shipments overall is expected to remain weak throughout March, 2020.
‘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,’ Wu added.