Thursday, 30 April 2020 09:48

China smartphone sales saw biggest quarterly fall in 1Q2020

China smartphone sales saw biggest quarterly fall in 1Q2020 Image by wei zhu from Pixabay

Smartphone sales in China during the first quarter of 2020 fell by 22% year-on-year, the biggest decline experienced by the country so far, but sales of 5G smartphones rose by 120%, the analyst firm Counterpoint Research says.

The company said 5G smartphone sales now accounted for more than 15% of the total sales.

No numbers were provided by Counterpoint which said that the top five OEMs — Huawei, OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi and Apple — accounted for 93% of sales, a rise of six percentage points year-on-year.

The top OEM, Huawei, was the only company to see a rise in market share during the coronavirus pandemic, with a share of about 40%.

Commenting on the statistics, Counterpoint research analyst Flora Tang said: "The drastic fall in Q1 China market was primarily [due to] the dismal sales of smartphones in February (-35% YoY), when the country was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and commerce activities were minimal.

sales q1"However, during the lockdown period in China, local e-commerce giants such as Alibaba and managed to sustain efficient business operations and delivery services in major Chinese cities outside Hubei province.

"[Due to] the strong support from these e-commerce players, China’s smartphone sales appeared less negative than our original expectation. We also estimate that the online share of smartphone sales in China surged to over 50% during Q1, from about 30% in 2019, though the share is likely to drop in Q2 after the pandemic is largely contained.”

Another analyst, Mengmeng Zheng, said the company had tracked the global 5G market and found that within six months after commercialisation of 5G in China, the penetration of 5G smartphone sales jumped to over 15% in Q1 2020.

"Sales units of 5G smartphones grew by nearly 120% QoQ. The dominance of Huawei in China’s 5G smartphone market was more evident — it contributed to over half of the total 5G phone sales in Q1, followed by vivo, OPPO, and Xiaomi.

"By Q1 2020, various vendors had launched sub-US$400 5G smartphones in China, such as vivo Z6 5G, Xiaomi K30 5G, realme X50 5G, and ZTE AXON 11 5G."

Zheng said given the aggressiveness of Chinese OEMs in growing the penetration of 5G phones to lower-tier price bands, "we expect 5G smartphones to rise to account for over 40% of total smartphone sales in China by the end of 2020".

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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