Global smartphone sales fell by 20.4% in the second quarter of 2020 to 295 million units, said a report released on Tuesday by research and advisory firm Gartner. While Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) smartphone sales were nearly flat year-over-year (YoY), Huawei’s smartphone sales fell by 6.8%. The other two major Chinese brands, Xiaomi (HKEX: 1810) and Oppo, dropped by 21.5% and 15.9%, respectively.
According to the report, the COVID-19 pandemic played a crucial role in the decline.
“Travel restrictions, retail closures, and more prudent spending on nonessential products during the pandemic led to the second consecutive quarterly decline in smartphone sales this year,” Gartner senior research director Anshul Gupta said.
Samsung experienced the most significant decline in sales among the top five smartphone vendors, which the report attributed to low demand for its flagship S Series smartphones globally during the pandemic.
Although Huawei also experienced a decline in smartphone sales YoY to 54 million units, the company saw 27.4% quarter-over-quarter growth. According to Gartner, Huawei’s performance moves the company into a virtual tie with Samsung for the number one position in the global smartphone market.
“Huawei’s performance in China helped it avoid a worse quarterly performance,” said Mr. Gupta. “Huawei extended its lead in China, where it captured 42.6% of China’s smartphone market in the second quarter of 2020. Huawei put in place an aggressive product introduction and sales promotion in China in particular and benefited from the strong support of communications services providers for its 5G smartphones.”
Apple also appeared to benefit from the revival of the Chinese market in the second quarter.
“Apple’s iPhone sales fared better in the quarter than most smartphone vendors in the market and also grew sales quarter-over-quarter,” said Annette Zimmermann, research vice president at Gartner. “The improved business environment in China helped Apple achieve growth in the country. In addition, the introduction of the new iPhone SE encouraged users of older phones to upgrade their smartphones.”
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is a research and advisory company that was founded in 1979, and a member of the S&P500—a stock market index that measures the stock performance of 500 large companies listed on exchanges in the US.