Worldwide smartphone shipments dropped 11.7 percent in the first quarter of 2020, marking the largest year-over-year decline for the once booming industry. Companies shipped 275.8 million units in the first three months of 2020, down from 312.3 million the year before.
The results were heavily impacted by a steep decline of the Chinese market, which saw shipments drop by more than 20 percent amid the coronavirus lockdown. Partly due to supply chain issues caused by the Chinese lockdown, Western Europe and the United States also contributed to the global slowdown, with shipments down 18.3 and 16.1 percent, respectively.
"What started as primarily a supply-side problem initially limited to China has grown into a global economic crisis with the demand-side impact starting to show by the end of the quarter," said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "While the supply chain in China started to recover at end of the quarter, as IDC expected, major economies around the world went into complete lockdown causing consumer demand to flatline."
The latest shipment volume marks the lowest since Q2 2013, as the coronavirus pandemic only accelerated a broader downward trend for the smartphone industry. As the following chart shows, trailing-twelve-month shipments peaked in Q3 2017 and have since dropped in 9 out of 10 quarters.