Smartphones in the age of the pandemic

There are only a few weeks of us until the end of the year and, as always, it is the right time to do an analysis of the last twelve months. And a boy like the whirlwind of those twelve months. Almost no one was left without the influence of COVID-19 coronavirus, either directly or indirectly. Of course, the powerful mobile phone market did not go unharmed and, to some extent, the effects on the industry could be felt long after the pandemic became a footnote in history.

Domino effect

The most immediate effect of the COVID-19 outbreak was disruption of almost all schedules this year. From the closure of production facilities in China to the cancellation of annual events, it was almost as if the whole world was thrown into chaos. Even when the world has begun to get back on its feet and postpone events that have been postponed to the future, the damage has already been done.

Late development and production plans meant late launches. That meant missing out on window opportunities that smartphone makers took advantage of. This meant, for example, a loss of projected quarters of revenue because the phone was not put into operation in those months. This ultimately meant that other parts of the chain, especially manufacturers, installers and their employees, would also receive their revenues and fees late.

Reduced demand

Of course, the pandemic had a much broader impact on the global economy, even in places where the coronavirus was barely touching. Trade has been stopped or restricted at borders, and businesses have been closed, some even permanently. Money quickly became an even bigger problem than it ever was, and people had to monitor their budgets and resources more carefully to make sure they were spending only on necessary and critical purchases.

Computers, especially laptops, have become some of the basic purchases this year due to the need for remote work, often from home. In light of all the other concerns, buying a new phone has become less urgent, especially for those who still have perfectly usable devices. Even as production and deliveries began to grow towards the second half of the year, demand for smartphones never truly reached the peaks it would have had by then.

An ironic increase

At the same time, there has been a somewhat ironic development that has countered the decline in demand for new smartphones. Smartphones have actually become even more critical even as laptops and tablets have become the focus of Work From Home (WFH) focus. Communication, via the Internet and traditional telephone lines and SMS, has become even more important during quarantine and shelter ordering.

From social networks to games, smartphones, apps and mobile Internet have seen a sharp rise in recent months. Their importance may have ironically prompted users to be more reserved about changing phones at the time. From the health risks associated with buying a new phone to the technical risks that result from a new but non-functional handset, consumers are less interested in jumping into a new phone for no compelling reason.

Highest price

Of course, there will always be some reasons for people to buy the latest and greatest phones, but this year’s selection has given even passionate smartphone lovers a pause to think. Precisely because of the delay and the distorted market economy accumulated on top of the regularly rising price of components, the prices of high-end phones have risen even more this year. Where $ 1,000 phones weren’t scandalous even just two years ago, this has become the basis for this year’s flagship models.

Samsung had the misfortune to launch a new high-end phone right at the start of the pandemic, where fear and uncertainty gripped the world. Apple’s new iPhone 12 naturally sold well, but for a while its new iPhone SE 2020 was considered the most popular smartphone, especially during the first half of the year. It might be too early to conclude that consumers are smarter in buying smartphones, but there could be another factor here.

Intermediate level in March

Mid-range phones are constantly growing in capabilities and market share, not in the least by chip makers that are narrowing the gap between premium and higher mid-range silicon. Even with the slow spread of 5G, the number of such phones that can connect to the next generation network is also slowly growing.

Even Google seems to be playing this game, pushing its flagship Pixel 5 onto the Snapdragon 700 series of chips. More brands like LG are launching similar phones, sometimes powered by MediaTek’s equivalent. At the same time, there are those like OnePlus that are expanding their product lines to cover not only the mid-range market, but even entry-level markets.


COVID-19 has really changed the world in many ways, most of which are not good. Based on some data, the smartphone market has indeed declined this year, but is slowly on its way to recovery. Things may be the same, however, with some manufacturers, namely Samsung, who are trying to make up for it with custom schedules.

While there will always be people reaching for every new Samsung or Apple’s leading company, consumers are forced to re-evaluate smartphone purchases, keep their phones longer, and even expect more software updates from the manufacturer. Whether this will become the new normal for the mobile phone market is still uncertain, which makes the coming year a little more interesting and exciting.