Mobile + telecom
Global smartphone shipments improve in 3Q20
Luke Lin, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei

Global smartphone shipments fell by slightly over 6% on year in the third quarter of 2020, improving significantly from the previous two quarters as demand for smartphones outside the China market rebounded, according to Digitimes Research.

Despite the lingering of the pandemic in many parts of the world and an increase in confirmed cases in the US, Europe and Southeast Asia in the third quarter, the job markets and consumer consumption in most of these areas were gradually recovering thanks to the offerings of various relief measures by related governments.

Consumers are now more willing to buy new phones, as many people have seen much less spending on travel in the wake of the pandemic, and they are likely to purchase more electronics goods for their own or as year-end holiday gifts.

Digitimes Research's just-published five-year forecast report on global smartphone shipments has revised upward its forecast for global smartphone shipments for 2020 to 1.22 billion units, up from its July estimation of 1.15 billion units, and with the annual decline rate for global smartphone shipments narrowing to 10.4% in the year.

Smartphone shipments in China will decline 16.1% on year to 308 million units in 2020, while smartphone shipments outside China will slip 8.2% to 912 million units.

Global shipments of 5G phones are expected to reach over 260 million units in 2020, accounting for 20% of global smartphone shipments.

Looking back to third-quarter 2020, Samsung Electronics managed to take over the market share relinquished by Huawei in Europe and outraced the Chinese vendor to regain the number-one vendor ranking globally.

Huawei saw its shipments plunge by over 25% sequentially in the third quarter due to weak consumer demand in China and the impacts of the US trade sanctions.

However, Chinese handset vendors have continued to ramp up their shipments of 5G phones, notably models for the CNY1,000 (US$149) segment.

With the availability of 5G iPhone devices, sales of 5G models are expected to account for over 70% of total smartphone shipments in China soon, up from over 60% currently.

Digitimes Research expects 5G phone shipments to the China market to reach over 160 million units in 2020.

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