as the number of handsets delivered to consumers dropped to 296 million from 372 million in 2019.
The figures China Academy of Information and Communications (CAICT), a state-backed think tank, reflected both the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the supply chain and demand, and the ongoing trend for consumers keep their phones for longer before upgrading to a new model.
In 2019, shipments of smartphones had declined 4% from the previous year, according to CAICT data.
But, in the first half of the year, domestic brands Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi Corp each saw steep shipment declines while Huawei, the leading Chinese brand at the high-end, continued to grow market share.
In the latter half, Huawei sales slowed as trade restrictions imposed by Washington on the company took effect, crimping its supply of critical components. Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi have ramped up production in hopes of capturing that share.
Phone makers shipped a total of 25.2 million smartphones to consumers in China in the month of December, marking a 12.8% year-on-year decline, according to CAICT.
(Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)