How smartphone brands performed during the pandemic?

Smartphones, mobile phones, and wearables constitute a large part of the technical consumer goods industry that was worth $1.23 Trillion in 2018. In the same year, global smartphone sales amounted to $522 billion. However, the sales of premium smartphones were stronger in 2018 compared to the previous year. According to Statista, the number of smartphone users globally grew to 3.2 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to 3.5 billion in 2020 and 3.8 billion in 2021. With economic activity resuming in the second half of 2020, smartphone sales are expected to pick up. However, during the first half, Covid-19 sent smartphone sales spiraling downwards. The impact will lessen towards the second half of the year but for sales to pick up fully, it is going to take time. The economies that are also the largest smartphone markets will take some time to heal and the impact will remain until then.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was drastic in the smartphone industry. Apart from supply chain disruption, the smartphone industry was also challenged by the sudden and sharp decline in economic growth in various key regions of the world. The markets most affected by COVID-19 were also the largest smartphone markets in the world. Currently, China is the largest smartphone market in the world, followed by India and the United States. While China was the first market that the pandemic affected, it was also the first to recover.

It is why the Chinese brands like Huawei have seen their sales and number of shipments grow faster in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the other brands. In India, the impact of COVID-19 is growing to be worse than the rest of the world. Economic activity in India has declined at a sharper rate than the rest of the world including the US, following extended shutdowns due to the pandemic and the weakening of the economy thereafter. In the US, the economy has reopened but the impact of the pandemic is expected to remain there for longer.

Samsung has continued to rule the smartphone industry as the largest brand in 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. During the second quarter, Huawei’s shipments were larger in number compared to Samsung. The credit goes to the growing demand in China. However, considering the overall number of shipments during the year, Samsung is still a lot ahead of Huawei. As the situation improves towards the second half of the year, the company is expecting better sales and the number of shipments to grow. According to data from counterpoint research, while the top ten smartphone companies gained market share during the pandemic, the smaller brands felt the effect of COVID-19 more severely. During the second quarter of 2020, while the top ten companies held 88% of market share in the smartphone industry compared to 80% during the second quarter last year, brands outside the top ten lost considerable market share. Their market share declined by 55% YOY.

Here is how each leading brand has performed during the pandemic globally in 2020:

Global performance of smartphone brands 2020 (Q1-Q2)

Samsung:

Samsung remained the largest smartphone brand during the first two quarters of 2020 based on the number of its total global shipments. While its number of shipments was considerably lower during the first two quarters of 2020 as compared to the same period last year, it was still higher than the other brands. The main reason behind the decline in shipments was that the core markets of Samsung were struggling to emerge from the effects of the pandemic. Its core markets like the USA, India, Europe, and LATAM. Due to the extended lockdowns in these market regions, the company experienced a decline of 29% YoY in its sales during the second quarter.

Samsung shipped only 54.2 million smartphones during the second quarter of 2020 compared to 76.3 million in the same period during the previous year. The decline was relatively lower during the first quarter of 2020 when Samsung shipped 58.6 million units compared to 72 million during the same period the previous year. However, the market share of Samsung remained nearly the same as the previous year during the first two quarters of 2020 except for a small decline of 1%. During the first two quarters of 2019, Samsung held a 21% market share in the global smartphone markets compared to 20% during the first two quarters of 2020. Compared to Samsung its two closest rivals Apple and Huawei experienced a growth in market share during the second quarter. Samsung remained the leader during the first quarter of 2020 when it captured around one-fifth of the total global smartphone market.

In the Indian market, Samsung’s market share jumped sharply during the second quarter of 2020. Its market share in the Indian smartphone market in the first quarter of 2020 was 16% which jumped to 36% in the second quarter of 2020. It jumped from the third position to the second position in the Indian market during the second quarter after Xiaomi.

On the other hand, Samsung has experienced a rise in its market share in the US smartphone market during the first two quarters of 2020. Its share in the US smartphone market was 32% in the first quarter and 25% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to 28% and 21% during the same period in the previous year.

Huawei:

Based on the number of shipments, Huawei was the largest smartphone brand during the second quarter of 2020. It continued to push for growth in the Chinese market and surpassed Samsung during the second quarter of 2020. Globally, its shipments declined by only 3% in the second quarter of 2020 as compared to the same period during the previous year. It experienced a growth of 11% YoY in China, which is Huawei’s Largest market. China was the first leading smartphone market to recover from the effects of Covid-19. It is also the world’s largest smartphone market. The overall impact on Huawei shipments of the pandemic was comparatively much less heavy as compared to Samsung or the other Chinese brands like Vivo, Oppo, or Xiaomi.

During the second quarter of 2020, the total number of shipments globally by Huawei numbered 54.8 million. Compared to that, the company shipped 56.6 million handsets during the second quarter of 2019. The decline was steeper during the first quarter of 2020. While the company shipped 59.1 million handsets during the first quarter of 2019, it shipped only 49 million handsets during the first quarter of 2020. The market share of Huawei in the global smartphone market was 20% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to 16% during the same period the previous year (slightly larger than that of Samsung). However, Huawei’s overall market share remained stable during the first quarter compared to the same period the previous year despite the lower number of shipments. Its market share in the first quarters of 2019 and 2020 was 17%.

Apple:

Based on the number of shipments, Apple looks in the best shape in the first two quarters of 2020 compared to the same period last year. While Huawei shipped around 12 million fewer shipments in the first two quarters of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, Samsung shipped around 35 million less. Apple shipped only 1 million fewer handsets in the first two quarters of 2020 compared to the same period last year. Apple’s number of shipments declined in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year but rose higher in the second quarter. During the first quarter of 2020, Apple shipped 40 million units compared to 42 million in the first quarter of 2019. However, during the second quarter of 2020, it shipped 37.5 million handsets compared to 36.5 million during the same quarter previous year.

Apple’s market share also remained higher during the first two quarters of 2020 compared to the same period last year. In the first two quarters of 2020, its market share remained at 14% respectively. However, during the first quarter of 2019, its market share was 12% and had declined to 10% during the second quarter of 2019. The company has successfully retained its third position in the smartphone market globally. Its iPhone shipments grew 3% YoY globally during the second quarter of 2020 and the company experienced revenue growth of around 2%. Apart from sustaining the sales of iPhone 11, the company also had a strong start for iPhone SE. Apple also experienced revenue growth across all its market regions in the second quarter of 2020. Even during the pandemic, Apple remained more resilient compared to the other brands. Its shipments declined only 5% during the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year and iPhone revenues only 7%.

Apple has consistently maintained its leadership position in the US market. The company has experienced consistent growth in its market share in the US market throughout 2019. Its market share there was 49% in the last quarter of 2019. However, during the first two quarters of 2020, Apple’s market share remained at 46%.

Xiaomi:

Xiaomi was the fourth largest brand globally during the first two quarters of 2020. Compared to the same period the previous year, its shipments grew during the first quarter of 2020 but declined in the second quarter. However, the company experienced a growth in its market share despite the overall decline in sales of smartphones globally. Its market share during the first two quarters of 2020 was 10%. In the first two quarters of 2019, the market share of the company was 8% and 9% respectively.

The number of shipments by Xiaomi during the first quarter of 2020 was higher than the same period during the previous year but fell during the second quarter of the year. In the first quarter of 2020, the company shipped 29.7 million smartphones compared to 27.8 million in the first quarter of 2019. On the other hand, the company shipped only 26.5 million units compared to 32.3 million units during the same period the previous year.

The company experienced a 7% growth during the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year. Xiaomi continued to maintain its leading market position in the Indian smartphone market. During the first quarter of 2020, its market share reached the highest since Q1 2018. In the first quarter of 2020, Xiaomi’s market share in India was 30% and declined to 29% in the second quarter of 2020. Xiaomi continues to rule the Indian market with Samsung and Vivo in the second and third positions.

Compared to the same period last year, both Vivo and Realme experienced sharper growth during the first two quarters of 2020. Vivo’s market share in India remained 17% during the first two quarters of 2020 compared to 12% and 11% during the first two quarters of 2019. Realme’s market share in India in the first two quarters of 2020 was 14% and 11% compared to 7% and 9% during the first two quarters of 2019. Xiaomi and Samsung consistently maintained its leadership position in the Indian market since 2018 where Xiaomi has consistently enjoyed a market share of 26% or above.

Oppo:

Oppo was at the fifth position in the smartphone industry during the first and second quarters of 2020. The company has retained its market share during the pandemic. Oppo’s market share was the same as the previous year during the first two quarters of 2020. However, its shipments declined during the period compared to the previous year. According to counterpoint research, Oppo is also among the top five brands in the Indian market. The market share of Oppo was 8% and 9% respectively during the first two quarters of 2020 (same the first two quarters of the previous year). The company shipped 22.3 million smartphone units in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 25.7 million during the same period last year. In the second quarter, the company shipped 24.5 million units compared to 30.6 million units during the same period last year. Oppo is also among the top five brands in the Indian smartphone market where it retained a 9% market share during the second quarter of 2020 compared to 12% in the first quarter of the year.

Vivo:

Globally, Vivo remained in the sixth position during the second quarter of 2020 in terms of market share. Its market share in the global smartphone market remained the same as the previous year during the first two quarters of 2020. Vivo shipped 21.6 million units in the first quarter of the year compared to 23.9 million during the same period the previous year. In the second quarter of 2020, the company shipped 22.5 million units compared to 27 million during the same period in 2019. The market share of the company remained unchanged despite the drop in the number of total shipments worldwide. Its market share during the first two quarters of 2020 was 7% and 8% respectively; the same as the first two quarters of 2019.

Lenovo:

Lenovo also experienced a severe decline in the number of shipments worldwide during the first two quarters of 2020. Its market share in the first quarter of 2020 was 2% compared to 3% during the same period in the previous year. In the second quarter, however, the company’s market share jumped to 3% which was the same as the second quarter during the previous year. Lenovo shipped 5.9 million units in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 9.5 million during the same period in the previous year. In the second quarter of 2020, Lenovo’s global shipments jumped to 7.5 million compared to 9.5 million during the same period in the previous year. The company experienced a decline in its shipments of around 21% during the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in the previous year.

Originally published at https://notesmatic.com on September 26, 2020. Read the full article here:

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