At a recent shareholder meeting Samsung executives made it clear that despite the rapid 5G growth expected in 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak is going to cause the global smartphone market to take a significant hit.
The number of people who are holding out hope that the coronavirus pandemic will be short-lived are dwindling by the day. Experts predict that the world will need to continue taking drastic measures to slow the spread of the virus for the next few months at least. Some experts predict that this could be drawn out for over a year.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak Samsung predicted that 2020 was going to be the year where demand for 5G-capable devices became widespread. Now, the company still expects to do better than 2019, but their predictions have been drastically curtailed due the environment the coronavirus outbreak has created around the world.
Samsung has already been forced to close one of its production plants in South Korea due to COVID-19. While it looks like that factory should come back online shortly, they will still have to deal with production backups moving forward. Apple was recently forced to shut down all of their stores in the greater China region.
This pandemic isn’t just affecting individual companies, it’s changing the industry as a whole. The research firm Strategy Analytics recently published a report in which they said that they expect “global shipments of smartphones in 2020 to be 10% lower than expected ‘due to the fear and paralysis caused by coronavirus.’”
“No one wins. All major [smartphone makers] will take a hit and ship [fewer] smartphones than pre-coronavirus outbreak,” reads the report.
The truth of the matter is that Samsung is going to be just fine. They might move less 5G-capable smartphones than they expected but they’ll move enough. Their electronics branch is also the manufacturer of popular memory chips that are integral for artificial intelligence (AI) systems, driverless cars and 5G technology.