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Gartner says smartphone sales plummeted 20 percent in Q1 2020

The decline in sales, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic fallout, hit all five top vendors -- except for Xiaomi.
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Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer on

The global smartphone market saw its worst decline ever in the first quarter of 2020, with sales to end users plummeting by 20.2 percent, according to Gartner. The decline, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic fallout, hit all five top vendors -- except for Xiaomi, which grew its sales by 1.4 percent year-over-year. 

All told, consumers purchased more than 299 million devices in Q1, according to Gartner, down from just under 375 million in Q1 2019. IDC reported a few weeks earlier that Q1 shipments totaled closed to 276 million, representing a 11.7 percent drop. 

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Gartner's research shows Huawei taking the biggest hit, with sales for the quarter down more than 27 percent. Still, Huawei held on to the No. 2 spot behind Samsung. Samsung managed to maintain its status as the top vendor -- with more than 18 percent market share -- despite its smartphone sales declining by nearly 23 percent. 

"COVID-19 negatively impacted Samsung's smartphone sales during the quarter. However, the decline could have been much worse," Gartner senior research analyst Anshul Gupta said in a statement. "Its limited presence in China and the location of its manufacturing facilities outside of China prevented a steeper fall."

Apple saw its shipments fall by around 8 percent, Gartner said, while OPPO's sales fell by 19 percent. 

Xiaomi managed to grow sales, according to the research firm, thanks to strong sales of its Redmi devices in international markets and its aggressive online channel focus. 

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