Government data released on Monday showed that domestic smartphone sales in China in 2020 were down 20.4 percent from the previous year. The number of phones sold to consumers decreased to 296 million from 372 million in 2019.
The figures from the Chinese Academy of Information and Communications CAICT, a state-backed think-tank, reflect the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the supply and demand chain, and the ongoing trend of consumers to keep their phones longer before upgrading to a new phone.
Smartphone sales in 2019 were 4 percent lower than the previous year, according to CAICT. Cell phone sellers entered 2020 with the hope that the year would bring renewed sales, by buying consumers new phones compatible with China’s rapidly expanding 5G networks.
Huawei’s sales slowed in the second half of the year as trade restrictions imposed by Washington on the Chinese company took effect, reducing its supply of vital components. Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo companies increased production in the hope of capturing this market share from Huawei. Apple launched its first 5G smartphones in China last fall.
Analysts remain optimistic about the reception of the devices, and loyal iPhone owners of the brand, who have previously delayed an upgrade, are now buying the new phones.
Phone manufacturers shipped a total of 25.2 million smartphones to consumers in China in December, marking a 12.8 percent decline year-on-year, according to data from the Chinese Academy of Information and Communications (CAICT).