We have all seen how the closing of stores and the supply chain disruptions because of the COVID-19 had an impact on the global smartphone market this year. Smartphone shipments worldwide were down 11.7% in the first quarter of 2020 to 275.8 million units. The virus has gotten its hands on the key markets, such as the US Western Europe and China.
The industry was supposed to take advantage of the shift to 5G smartphones. However, that was not the case this year. The pandemic could delay upgrades, and it could actually hurt the demand. We have heard that Apple will delay its 5G smartphone because the delay in the production that happened because of the virus. But is that really a bad thing?
According to some reports, 5G smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2020 got 24.1 million units in comparison to 19 million units shipped in 2019. Samsung was the one dominating the market and a Chinese original equipment manufacturer. But where was Apple? Apple did not have a 5G device yet.
5G smartphones represent less than 10% of the global smartphone sales from the last quarter. It actually means that the market is not big enough for Apple, and the company was expecting to move 200 million iPhones in 2020.
The first quarter had a lot of success when it came to 5G smartphone sales, but that doesn’t mean that it will continue in the next couple of quarters. Samsung has already announced official delays in the rollout of the 5G networks, and that it will impact its business. It seems like 5G smartphones could actually get weaker and weaker thanks to the prices of the new devices and the limited coverage.