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Smartphone market records the sharpest drop ever due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the tablet market and data is now emerging on smartphones, which will also not escape the new coronavirus. According to preliminary data from the consultant IDC, 11.7% less mobile phones were distributed worldwide in the first quarter of the year, when compared to the first three months of 2019. This figure represents the sharpest drop ever in relation to to an annual comparison. In a period led by Samsung in the market, Xiaomi and Vivo are the only companies that registered growth compared to the same period last year.

In total, 275.8 million smartphones were distributed in the first three months of the year and, in a statement, IDC guarantees that this fall "is not surprising". It was in China, where numerous factories were closed during the first quarter of 2020, that this decline was most pronounced: 20.3% compared to last year. "Since China constitutes almost a quarter of the world's shipments, it has had a huge impact on the market in general," explains the consultant in the statement.

As for other regions, Europe saw a greater drop than the United States, reaching 18.3%. In the country ruled by Donald Trump, companies placed 16.1% fewer smartphones on the market.

Top 5 companies that most provided smartphones

According to senior analyst responsible for IDC Worldwide Mobile Device Tracker, Nabila Popal, it all started effectively with a supply-side problem, initially only in China. However, it turned into a global crisis, with the impact of the decrease in demand coming at the end of the quarter.

"Consumers are increasingly cautious with their spending in such uncertain times and it is difficult to think that smartphone purchases will not be affected," says Nabila Popal

At a time when China is now in a more favorable position, Will Wong, research manager at IDC, explains that demand in the country exceeded expectations at the end of March, a period in which new cases of COVID-19 began to decline. Despite the good news, the consultant forecasts only growth compared to the same period in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Samsung leads again, but Xiaomi and Vivo are the only ones to grow in the market

With a clear advantage over Huawei and Apple, it was Samsung that put the most smartphones on the market, but also the one that suffered the sharpest drop. By distributing 18.9% less mobile phones compared to the first three months of 2019, the South Korean company placed 58.3 million smartphones on the market, thus returning to the first place, since the top 3 was led by Apple in the fourth quarter of 2019. According to the consultant, this position is mainly due to "the permanent success of series A, despite the launch of the Galaxy S20", presented in February this year.

In the top 3 are Huawei, which distributed 49 million smartphones, and Apple, the company that recorded the smallest drop of the three. The technological giant placed 36.7 million iPhones on the market, a decrease of 0.4%.

Xiaomi and Vivo are the ones that occupy, respectively, the 4 and 5 places of the top 5, and were the only ones that verified a growth. Xiaomi distributed 29.5 million mobile phones and Vivo 24.8, the latter having recorded the greatest increase in relation to the first three months of last year: 7%.