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Thursday, June 04, 2020, 14:49
Smartphone shipments projected to fall a record 12% in 2020
By Bloomberg
Thursday, June 04, 2020, 14:49 By Bloomberg

Customers wearing protective masks look at smartphones at the Samsung Electronics Co D'light flagship store in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday, March 6, 2020. (SEONGJOON CHO / BLOOMBERG)

Worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to fall by 11.9 percent this year -- their biggest annual drop ever -- indicating things are going to get worse for the industry before they get better.

Nationwide lockdowns and rising unemployment have reduced consumer confidence and reprioritized spending towards essential goods 

Sangeetika Srivastava, an analyst for IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers

In its latest market forecast, research firm IDC anticipates shipments of 1.2 billion in 2020, down from just under 1.4 billion last year. The annual forecast follows a record 11.7 percent year-on-year drop in the three months ending March. The latest projections are a dramatic revision of an annual forecast by IDC in February, after the virus first hit, that predicted a 2.3 percent decline.

ALSO READ: Smartphone shipments' 17% rise shows electronics rebound

Pinning the blame on the coronavirus outbreak and its effects on both supply and demand, the forecast points to an upswing in sales and shipments in 2021, suggesting that some purchases will be delayed rather than entirely forgone. The proliferation of fifth-generation wireless services will also help rekindle consumer interest, the researchers said.

ALSO READ: Huawei reports 19% revenue growth in 2019

“What started as a supply-side crisis has evolved into a global demand-side problem,” Sangeetika Srivastava, an analyst for IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers said in a statement. “Nationwide lockdowns and rising unemployment have reduced consumer confidence and reprioritized spending towards essential goods, directly impacting the uptake of smartphones in the short term.”

China’s domestic market will only see a single-digit decline, according to IDC, pointing to the country’s recovery from the initial outbreak. Europe, on the other hand, has suffered a heavier toll from COVID-19 and is expected to experience deeper falls in spending and demand, the researchers added.

READ MORE: China continues to fuel global surge for 5G smartphones

“On the brighter side, 5G is expected to be a catalyst throughout the forecast period, which will play a vital role in worldwide smartphone market recovery in 2021,” said Srivastava.


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