Consumer Electronics

Smartphone Sales Collapse, Apple Holds Its Own

Global smartphone sales dove at a record rate. However, Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone sales held steady as the U.S. company added market share.

Research firm IDC reported a year over year drop across the industry of 11.7% in the first quarter. That translates into shipments of 275.8 million smartphones. Since the smartphone has fundamentally replaced the laptop and tablet among hundreds of millions of people, the figure speaks volumes about the breadth of the decline of GDP across the world. Consumer spending, for example, is two-thirds of GDP.

Samsung, the traditional front runner, posted shipments of 58.3 million. That represents a drop of 18.9%. China-based  Huawei posted a drop of 17.1% which represents shipments of 49 million. Since most of the firm’s units are sold in China, it says a great deal about the fall off of consumer spending in the world’s largest nation by populations.

Apple shipped 36.7 million phones, a drop of only .4% from the first quarter of last year. IDC analysts wrote: “This is primarily due to the continued success of its iPhone 11 series. Looking forward, the launch of the recent SE (2020) device targeting the lower-priced segment could work well for the vendor if consumers shift their buying preferences towards more budget-friendly devices in the uncertain economic climate of 2020.”

China-based Xiaomi shipped 29.5 million smartphones, up 6.1%.

China bases vivo shipped 24.8 million, up 7%

Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, summed up the situation: “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.”

Apple has a chance to at least hold its own in the current quarter because of the iPhone SE which has a base price of $399, less than half of the flagship iPhone 11 Pro