Smartphone sales declined this year, but there is a silver lining

Smartphone sales declined this year, but there's a silverlining

Smartphone sales across several brands declined sharply because of the COVID-19 pandemic that forced people to stay in their homes.

2020 was supposed to be the year of innovation for smartphones. This year was slated to be the big year for 5G and foldable phones. Unfortunately, COVID-19 set in and forced people to stay in their homes. The lockdown implemented across almost all countries around the world forced a massive change in people’s purchasing behavior.

Consumers relied on online purchases more because of limited mobility. Buying online is easy for fresh foods and groceries because the customers know what they will get. However, the same isn’t true for consumer gadgets. The entire experience of buying a phone revolves around the tactile in-store experience.

As such, overall smartphone sales saw a steep drop compared to the same period in 2019.

Sharp decline in smartphone sales

No company was safe from the lockdown implemented from January to May. Counterpoint Research reports that the overall drop in sales across brands was up to 25%. Apple sales dropped 23% compared to last year. Motorola, OnePlus, and ZTE all saw up to a 60% drop in sales compared to last year.

The formidable Samsung maintained its form by dropping only 10% in sales from 2019. There are several factors that play into these declines. The first and major part of it is the consumers’ purchasing power. An earlier report said that the purchasing confidence of consumers dropped drastically due to the COVID-19. The uncertainty of the lockdown and unemployment loomed over their heads, which made them reconsider their purchases.

The second factor in the decline is availability across the markets. The brands that experienced up to 60% decline in sales have limited stores or stocks in major markets around the world.

Smartphone sales declined this year, but there's a silverlining

Online sales played a big factor

According to the same report, online presence buoyed the sales for Samsung and Apple. Their online stores kept the interest of the customers to their products high. Samsung is readily available in major markets across the globe. As such, the appetite for their products remained high.

Apple, on the other hand, launched the budget iPhone SE in the mid of the pandemic. Counterpoint Research Jeff Fieldhack said that the sales of the new Apple budget phone helped the company weather the storm. Despite not having the usual fanfare involved in a phone launch, the iPhone SE still lived up to the hype around it.

Smartphone sales saw a rapid turnaround in June. Counterpoint reports that June 2020 sales leapfrogged June 2019’s sales because of pent up appetite for smartphone purchases.

Image from Zana Latif/ Unsplash and Daniel Romero/ Unsplash

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