The Chinese smartphone market registered its largest ever fall in shipments in the first quarter of 2020.
With the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic ongoing, and lockdown restrictions in place across China for much of the quarter, the downturn is not unexpected. Analyst firm IDC believes the impact will resonate across the year before demand begins to rebound in Q4.
For the first quarter, shipments were down by 20.3% year-on-year to 66.6 million units. Will Wong, a research manager for client devices at IDC Asia-Pacific, said that the firm believed that the market would return to annual growth in Q4 “as the global Covid-19 situation hopefully improves and 5G products reach a lower price range.”
Demand for 5G devices was clear from the Q1 total shipments, as they accounted for over 20% of sales. Of these, Huawei’s share of the market was a dominant 55.4%, with Vivo taking 14.4%, Oppo just behind on 13.9%, and Xiaomi taking 13.3%.
Factoring in total sales beyond 5G devices, Huawei increased its market share by over 8% to take a market share of 42.6%, putting it comfortably in first place despite a 4.4% drop in total shipments. Vivo’s 18.1% share let it retain second place, although its sales were down by 24.5%.
Oppo registered a 15.8% fall in sales, but Xiaomi’s drop-off was the most pronounced, with a 33.8% drop putting its sales figures at 7 million for the quarter. Apple boosted its market share slightly from 6.9% to 7.6% despite overall shipments falling 12.2% to 5.1 million, leaving it in fifth place.