According to the latest investigations by TrendForce, the global spread of COVID-19 in 2020 has brought about the greatest magnitude of declines in the smartphone market in recent years. Global smartphone production for the first quarter of 2020 fell by 10% year-over-year to around 280 million units, the lowest in five years, due to pandemic-induced disruptions across the supply chain.
Turning to quarter two, TrendForce says there are now improvements to both the supply chain and the work resumption statuses of manufacturing and assembly lines, but the pandemic is now making its effects felt on the demand side of the smartphone market by tanking major economies worldwide.
And what of our favorite tech company? Prior to the onset of COVID-19, TrendForce had originally expected Apple to once again reach yearly production of 200 million units, owing to the release of five new models this year and the phasing out of the popular iPhone 6s series by the seasonal smartphone replacement cycle.
However, Apple fell victim to the influence of the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in the reduced production of its iPhone lineups this year. In terms of quarter one 2020 performance, iPhone production fell by 8.7% year-over-year, reaching 37.9 million units, due to labor and material shortages following the post-Lunar New Year work resumption, in turn ranking Apple in the third place, according to TrendForce.
As the company releases the new iPhone SE with a consumer-friendly price tag in quarter two of 2020, quarterly iPhone production is expected to stay relatively close to first quarter figures, reaching 36 million units. TrendForce says Apple is still planning to release four new 5G handsets in the second half of the year, but “whether the pandemic’s influence will weaken the demand for iPhones going forward remains a noteworthy concern, since iPhones sell at a relatively high retail price, and the iPhone’s primary sales regions are the European and U.S. markets, which are in the midst of dealing with COVID-19.”