Coronavirus Outbreak May Halve China's Smartphone Sales in First Quarter

Smartphone sales in China could be reduced by as much as 50 percent in the first quarter of 2020 because of the impact the coronavirus outbreak is having on the retail and manufacturing sectors, according to new research.

foxconn iphone production
Speaking to Reuters, research firm Canalys said that the closure of production facilities and retail stores by Apple and other tech companies will not only hit smartphone sales, but also impact product launches scheduled to take place in the first quarter of this year.

"Vendors' planned product launches will be canceled or delayed, given that large public events are not allowed in China," said Canalys researchers. "It will take time for vendors to change their product launch roadmaps in China, which is likely to dampen 5G shipments."

Apple isn't expected to unveil a 5G phone until September, when the "iPhone 12" series is expected to be announced, but other vendors like Huawei reportedly hoped to see a boost in sales on the back of China's 5G network rollout.

Apple in early February closed all of its corporate offices, stores, and contact centers in China due to the coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan. The stores aren't expected to reopen as planned on February 10 because of ongoing concerns.

Meanwhile, Foxconn's Zhengzhou site, which is the most critical production site for the iPhone 11 and the upcoming low-cost iPhone, is seeing significant delays. The plant originally planned to resume work on February 2, but that has been postponed by at least one week.

There have already been multiple reports suggesting these closures will have an impact on Apple device production, and we could see dwindling device supplies and lengthening shipping times in the near future.

According to one report, Apple's ability to meet supply/demand balance of AirPods and AirPods Pro is in jeopardy due to the outbreak. The delays may also affect the upcoming low-cost ‌iPhone‌ that Apple is expected to launch as early as this March.

In his most recent report, respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo declined to provide new shipment forecasts in light of the coronavirus outbreak because "there are still many uncertainties" but last week he lowered his iPhone shipment forecast by 10 percent to 36 to 40 million units during Q1 2020 due to the coronavirus.

Top Rated Comments

lunarworks Avatar
12 months ago


Seems strange to be concerned about smartphone sales during an epidemic but okay

Business research firm does research on how an epidemic might affect business. Shocking.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
victorm1 Avatar
12 months ago
Seems strange to be concerned about smartphone sales during an epidemic but okay
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nicho Avatar
12 months ago


I’m not referring to the original research, I’m referring to this very article. Just because some analyst somewhere did some BI study, doesn’t mean it needs to be trumpeted by the press. I should know, I work in the consulting industry.

Apple-focused news and rumors website reports on matters relating to said company. Shocking.


Instead of screaming how I can't buy a new iPhone, I'll be glad that there are no infections happening in the UK so far (there are four infected people, and over 100 people coming from China under quarantine, but there are no known infections in the UK so far, and that would be the thing that would worry me).

You jinxed it.

https://news.sky.com/story/uk-coronavirus-cases-double-as-four-more-test-positive-11930618
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
smirking Avatar
12 months ago

Can none of you see the pattern? the Wolf has cried so many times I've stopped paying attention.

It's interesting you should use that example. You do remember what happened at the end of that story, don't you?

The wolf eventually shows up. Just like all of those Category 4/5 hurricanes are going to miss major population centers and fizzle out so that everyone who takes advice to evacuate are mere lemming fools... until a Hurricane Katrina hits and they're drowning their attics.

Enjoy your superiority.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
smirking Avatar
12 months ago

Ebola has been prominent in Africa for all these years and people barely talk about it anymore.

[LIST=1]
* Ebola is bad, but we know exactly what it can do and the things that can be done to limit its transmission.
* There is a vaccine for Ebola ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_vaccine').

We have neither of these conditions for the Novel Coronavirus. The part of not knowing exactly what it can do is the part that's most alarming because we simply do not know if it's just a pest or a killer.

Even if early indications are that it's just a pest that gives you the sniffles, until we have a chance to do more research on it, there's a fear that it could mutate into a killer. That fear is especially founded if you consider that a couple other coronaviruses had a much higher fatality rate. SARS killed about 10% of the people that got it and MERS killed 35% of its victims.

That's why health agencies around the world are freaking out. The spread of the latest coronavirus has already far exceeded the spread of the other ones before it and we just don't know what the long term implications are. So far it doesn't appear to be highly lethal, but even that's not entirely certain. It's possible that people who get it develop elevated risks for cancer or heart disease... you name it.

That's the problem with not knowing what we're fighting so it's a far better idea to possibly overreact than to try and push back on the ocean when the town is already underwater.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kyle4 Avatar
12 months ago


I actually think it's funny that anyone takes these pandemic scares seriously. it's that time of the year folks! Time for the CDC to come up with a new disease that's gonna kill us all! It's every February too. Let's look at the list shall we, and none of it's complete or in order but here we go:

1. The SARS epidemic
2. Killer Bees going to come to the USA
3. Hanta Virus
4. Bird Flu
5. Pig Flu
6. Zika Virus
7. Ebola Virus
8. Mad Cow Disease
9. Should I even add Y2K???

Meanwhile I enjoy sitting back, munching some popcorn and watching the lemmings...

This is so dumb. You realize nearly all of those didn’t escalate because of the precautions and attention given by governments, the CDC/WHO etc right? Even with Y2K months of work was put into preventing anything from happening.

So you’re essentially complaining that people did their jobs too well and contained these things.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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