Worldwide smartphone sales to end-users totaled 366 million units in the third quarter of 2020, down 5.7% from the third quarter of 2019, according to Gartner. Overall global mobile phone sales to end users totaled 401 million units, a decline of 8.7% year-over-year.
After two consecutive quarters of a decline of 20%, quarterly smartphone sales have started to show signs of recovery sequentially. However, smartphone sales continued to remain weaker compared to the same time period in in 2019, even with vendors introducing multiple 5G smartphones and governments relaxing shelter-in-place instructions in some geographies.
“Consumers are limiting their discretionary spend even as some lockdown conditions have started to improve,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. “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.”
Economic uncertainties and continued fear of the next wave of the pandemic continue to put pressure on nonessential spending through the end of 2020. The delay in 5G network upgrades has also limited the opportunity for smartphone vendors.
Samsung is once again the market leader
Among the top five smartphone manufacturers, Samsung held the No. 1 position with 22% market share. Xiaomi moved ahead of Apple into the No. 3 position for the first time ever with sales of 44.4 million units compared to Apple’s sales of 40.5 million units in the third quarter of 2020.
“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,” said Gupta. “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.”