China’s smartphone market suffered its largest-ever drop in shipments in Q1, with IDC forecasting Covid-19 (coronavirus) lockdown restrictions and an economic downturn to curb consumer demand until the final quarter of the year.

Shipments tumbled 20.3 per cent year-on-year to 66.6 million units and are only expected to record annual growth in Q4 “as the global Covid-19 situation hopefully improves and 5G products reach a lower price range”, said Will Wong, research manager for client devices at IDC Asia-Pacific.

Of total shipments, 5G models accounted for more than a fifth, aided by declining ASPs. Huawei took a 55.4 per cent share of the segment, followed by Vivo (14.4 per cent), Oppo (13.9 per cent) and Xiaomi (13.3 per cent).

Huawei also led the overall market, boosting its share by more than 8 percentage points to 42.6 per cent despite shipments falling 4.4 per cent to 28.4 million units. IDC said the vendor’s performance was mainly due to early price promotions on the Mate 30 and P30 series, along with significant price cuts on sub-brand Honor’s V30 and 9X ranges.

Vivo held second place with an 18.1 per cent share. Its shipments dropped 24.5 per cent to 11.8 million units. Oppo’s shipments fell 15.8 per cent to 17.8 million, while Xiaomi’s plunged 33.8 per cent to 7 million units.

Apple remained fifth, with 5.1 million units shipped a decline of 12.2 per cent, but market share up from 6.9 per cent to 7.6 per cent.