AppleSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • A report suggests that Q1 smartphone sales in China may halve due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • It could see the cancellation of product launches in the country because large public events are prohibited
  • Canalys also says it could dampen 5G shipments.

A report suggests that the coronavirus outbreak could see smartphone sales in the country fall by half in Q1.

According to Reuters analysts are predicting a sharp decline in sales due to retail closures, with firm Canalysis saying shipments could fall by 50%. The report notes:

China's smartphone sales may plunge by as much as 50% in the first quarter, as many retail shops have closed for an extended period and production has yet to fully resume due to the fast spread of a new coronavirus, according to research reports.

Canalys expects China's smartphone shipments to halve in the first quarter from a year ago, while IDC, another research firm that tracks the tech sector, forecasts a 30% drop.

Researchers have noted that China's planned 5G rollout could have propelled 2020 sales to a rebound in the market, after waning figures in recent years. Now, analysts claim that vendors such as Huawei may be forced to cancel or delay planned product launches, given that large public events are not allowed in China at present.

"It will take time for vendors to change their product launch roadmaps in China, which is likely to dampen 5G shipments."

Analysts also note that beyond retail, disruption to production and manufacturing could "delay brands' ability to bring their newest products to market." According to IDC analyst Will Wong:

"The delays in reopening factories and the labor return time will not only affect shipments to stores, it will also affect the product launch times in the mid- and long-term."

Beyond the human tragedy affecting China and other parts of the globe, the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on China's economy has been severe. With factories either fully or partially closed, many hundreds of thousands of workers have found themselves without work. With the tragedy continuing to escalate, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight just yet.