Smartphone sales declined by 5.7% year on year in the third quarter of 2020, according to research firm Gartner.
During the quarter, smartphone sales to end-users totalled 366 million units. Samsung sold the most units, followed by Huawei, while Xiaomi overtook Apple for third place for the first time.
During the previous two quarters of 2020 sales dropped by 20%. A smaller decline this quarter suggesting that sales are beginning to recover. However, Samsung and Xiaomi were the only vendors in the top five to experience growth in the third quarter of 2020, with Gartner noting that smartphone sales still remain weaker than this time last year.
The research company attributed this decline to economic uncertainties, a reduction in nonessential spending due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and a delay in 5G rollout.
Annette Zimmermann, research vice president at Gartner, explained that Apple’s sales, which reached 40.5 million units in the quarter, a decline of 0.6% as compared to 2019, was largely due to the delayed launch of its new iPhone generation, which would usually take place in September.
Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner, said:
“Consumers are limiting their discretionary spend even as some lockdown conditions have started to improve. Global smartphone sales experienced moderate growth from the second quarter of 2020 to the third quarter. This was due to pent-up demand from previous quarters.”
However, he noted signs of recovery in particular markets:
“Early signs of recovery can be seen in a few markets, including parts of mature Asia/Pacific and Latin America. Near normal conditions in China improved smartphone production to fill in the supply gap in the third quarter which benefited sales to some extent. For the first time this year, smartphone sales to end users in three of the top five markets i.e., India, Indonesia and Brazil increased, growing 9.3%, 8.5% and 3.3%, respectively.”