China’s Feb. mobile phone shipments plunge to record low for the month on maturing market

TOKYO, NNA – China’s mobile handset shipments plunged last month to the lowest on record for February due to a saturating market and as consumers put off purchases until the debut of 5G models.

Shipments in the month dropped 19.9 percent from a year earlier to 14.5 million units, according to data released Tuesday by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a government think tank.

The February figure marks the lowest for the month since comparable data were first collected in 2012, and represents less than half the level of the same month in 2017.

Mobile shipments in February are typically skewed by the Chinese New Year holiday. Shipments in the January-February period of this year also fell 15.1 percent from a year earlier to 48.6 million units, the data show.

Consumers are holding back on handset purchases as they wait for new 5G smartphones and foldable gadgets. But the world’s largest smartphone market has saturated overall and has very little room to grow before 5G smartphones become prevalent, according to reports by local web media Jiemian.com

Smartphone makers are also launching fewer new models. In the first two months of this year, the number of newly released handsets stood at 73, down 42.1 percent from a year earlier, Jiemin.com reported.