Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi was the lone company in the top five to see a rise in sales, with the others - Samsung, Huawei, Apple and OPPO - all recording declines of varying magnitude.
“The coronavirus pandemic caused the global smartphone market to experience its worst decline ever,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research analyst at Gartner.
“Most of the leading Chinese manufacturers and Apple were severely impacted by the temporary closures of their factories in China and reduced consumer spending due to the global shelter-in-place.”
Gupta said Huawei would have a challenging year. "“It has developed the Huawei Mobile Service ecosystem, but with the lack of popular Google apps and Google Play store, Huawei is unlikely to attract new smartphone buyers in international markets,” he added.
Apple also took a hit thought it is less dependent on China than Huawei, with sales down 8.2%.
“Apple had a strong start to the year thanks to its new product line up that saw strong momentum globally," said Annette Zimmermann, research vice-president at Gartner.
"If COVID-19 did not happen, the vendor would have likely seen its iPhone sales reach record levels in the quarter.
"Supply chain disruptions and declining consumer spending put a halt to this positive trend in February.
“Apple’s ability to serve clients via its online stores and its production returning to near normal levels at the end of March helped recover some of the early positive momentum.”