Chinese smartphone shipments to India have remained relatively unaffected so far in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in China as most Indian importers had already stockpiled their inventories due to onsetting holidays of the Chinese New Year towards the end of January.
“The impact so far has been minimal because the outbreak is in the Chinese New Year holidays. So, there is a natural stocking up and preparation which the Indian industry and the global industry does for the same. This will see us through till 10-15th of February," said Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman, India Cellular & Electronics Association (ICEA).
Mohindroo, however, added that ICEA will watch the situation day-by-day. If the problem persists beyond 10th February then there will be a real problem at hand. ICEA has noted that, there is no major impact on movement of skilled labour from China to India.
Even as research firm Gartner has recently noted that smartphone sales will reach 1.57 billion units in 2020 and Apple reported double digit growth in markets like India and China, the current coronavirus outbreak is likely to be a dampener to the smartphone industry if it goes on for an extended period. Coronavirus, which has killed 170 people, is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes. Meanwhile, the Union ministry of health and family welfare today said that one positive case of novel coronavirus from Kerala has come to light.
“It is too recent an event to size the impact on smartphone sales. Definitely there would be an impact on China. In terms of supply in India, we won’t see an immediate impact because existing inventory can last up to 8-10 weeks. But it will all depend on how long the crisis goes on," noted said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. The disease outbreak has severely restricted inbound and outbound travel as well as exports from China from many countries as authorities continue to grapple with the situation amid rising death toll.
Earlier in the week Gartner reported that worldwide sales of smartphones to end users are on track to reach 1.57 billion units in 2020, an increase of 3% year-over-year. In 2019, worldwide smartphone sales declined 2%, the first time since 2008 that the global smartphone market experienced a decline.