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Research firm Strategy Analytics released a report with the number of smartphone shipments for the month of February 2020, representing a sharp decline in the overall number of smartphones sold compared to February 2019.

This February, global shipments reached 61.8 million units, representing a 38% drop YoY. February 2019 saw 99.2 million units shipped by comparison.

The majority of smartphone production happens in China, and with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, manufacturing in China slowed to a halt in January which disrupted supply chains to many industries around the world, not limited to consumer electronics. In addition, people were unable and unwilling to shop in physical stores, while global economic effects have less consumers spending on non-essential items and supplies.

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…” – Neil Waston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics

“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,” explains Yiwen Wu, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics. “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.”

The question is, would this be enough to catch up on smartphone sales? As of this writing, the number of individuals infected by COVID-19 are still rising. The magnitude of the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 outbreak has left many without jobs or with reduced income. With less disposable income, people will likely hold out on upgrading their phones for the foreseeable future.

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