Q3 smartphone sales better than earlier in the year but still worse than 2019


Gartner report finds that Xiaomi takes the #3 spot from Apple in worldwide vendor ranking for the first time.

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Smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2020 were worse than Q3 2019 but better than Q2 of this year, according to Gartner. Smartphone sales were down 5.7% in Q3 of this year, which was an improvement over the 20% drop in Q2. People bought 366 million smartphones in the third quarter. 

Even new 5G smartphones and an easing of quarantine restrictions could not boost sales, according to Gartner.

“Consumers are limiting their discretionary spend even as some lockdown conditions have started to improve,” Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner, said in a press release. “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.”

Gartner reports that there are signs of recovery in a few markets.

“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,” Gupta said in the press release. 

Looking ahead, IDC predicts that Q4 will bring an increase in sales for the market. The research company’s projections suggest a 2.4% increase at the end of 2020 as compared to Q4 2019 and a 4.4% increase in 2021. 

IDC suggests that the rebound will start with a quick recovery of the supply chain and a marketing push for 5G phones. IDC sees 5G phones representing as much as 29% of all global smartphone shipments by 2024.

Ryan Reith, program VP with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, said in a press release that consumers around the world have shifted spending from travel and entertainment to electronics, which should help sales during the holidays and into 2021.

Gartner’s Q3 update also shared the top five smartphone vendors worldwide. Samsung is still at the top of the list but Apple has dropped a spot. Samsung has 22% market share in Q3 2020 compared to 20% market share in 2019. Huawei is at 14%, down from 17% in Q3 2019. Xiaomi jumped up to 12% this year up from 9% last year. Apple’s sales were essentially flat with 11% of the smartphone market this year compared to 10.5% in 2019. 

Only Samsung and Xiaomi reported sales growth in Q3 2020. Gartner credits this to Samsung’s strong position with Android users and Xiaomi benefitting from Huawei’s loss. Gartner Research Vice President Annette Zimmermann credits Apple’s weak showing to the delayed shipment of the new 2020 iPhone. “This year, the launch event and shipment start began 4 weeks later than usual,” she said in a press release. 

As Bill Detwiler wrote for TechRepublic, the new $699 iPhone 12 mini, $799 iPhone 12, $999 iPhone 12 Pro, and $1,099 iPhone 12 Pro Max were the stars of Apple’s October 2020 event. These are Apple’s first 5G phones and replace the iPhone 11 series. TechRepublic’s 5G Smartphones Cheat Sheet gives a rundown of what phones can use this faster connection and when they will be available.

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