China Academy of Information and Communications (CAICT) announced that China's 2020 domestic smartphone shipments declined 20.4%YoY to 296m, down from 372m in 2019, as reported by Reuters on January 11. State-backed CAICT attributed to the impact of the pandemic on supply chain and consumer demand, in addition to changes in consumer habits.
The data comes as the Chinese smartphone industry continues to recover from the 1Q20 economic slump. In 1Q20, China’s smartphone shipments declined to a historic low of 66.6m units, down 20.3% YoY. During the same period, Huawei was the only vendor in the mainland to record a positive growth due to significant price cuts to its Honor V30 and 9X series. In 2H20, smartphone sales improved marginally across the mainland thanks to handset firms, such as Oppo and Xiaomi [1810:HK], drastically ramping up production, although Huawei recorded a decline in sales due to difficultly sourcing raw materials amid ongoing US trade restrictions. Fitch Ratings forecasts a strong recovery for the smartphone industry in 2021, to be driven by the post-pandemic economic recovery and wider uptake of 5G technology primarily in advanced economies and some developing countries. The rating agency further estimates that in 2021, 5G smartphones will account for 17%-20% of global smartphone shipments.