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Coronavirus sparks biggest ever smartphone sales crash

The biggest ever fall in handsets sold saw the February 2019 number of 99-million units fall dramatically to 61-million last month as a result of an Asian sales collapse



Global smartphone shipments tumbled 38 percent year-on-year for the month of February 2020 in the biggest fall in the history of the worldwide smartphone market. According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, 38-million fewer phones were sold last month compared to the same month in 2019.

Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, says: “Global smartphone shipments tumbled a huge 38 percent annually from 99.2 million units in the month of February, 2019, to 61.8 million 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.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, says: “February 2020 saw the biggest fall ever in the history of the worldwide smartphone market. 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.”

Yiwen Wu, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, says: “Despite tentative signs of recovery in China, we expect global smartphone shipments overall 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.”

Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Shipments by MONTH in February 2020 1

Global Smartphone Shipments by Month (Millions of Units) February 2019 February 2020
Total 99.2 61.8
Growth YoY (%) -3% -38%

Source: Strategy Analytics

The full report, Global Smartphone Monthly Shipments in 2020, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, details of which can be found here: