New phone sales collapsed in the biggest decline since the invention of the smartphone.
Research firm Strategist Analix said shipments in February fell 38% year-on-year.
The author of the report, Linda Sui, said the prevalence of coronavirus in China had had a major impact.
“Some Asian factories were unable to manufacture smartphones, while many consumers were unable or unwilling to visit retail stores and buy new devices,” she said.
The report said that smartphone shipments decreased from 99.2 million in February 2019 to 61.8 million in February 2020.
February was to be a big month for the phone industry, with its main annual presentation of the Mobile World Congress, where many new phones are being unveiled for the first time.
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This event was one of the first major agreements to be canceled due to the Coruna virus.
Samsung, which revealed its latest flagship phone, the S20, in February, has reportedly seen slow initial device sales.
Meanwhile, Apple has warned that it will lose its earnings forecasts, and has said the global iPhone supply will be “restricted”.
“February 2020 saw the biggest ever drop in the history of the smartphone market around the world,” said Neil Maston, CEO of Strategy Analytics.
“China’s supply and demand for smartphones decreased, fell throughout Asia, and slowed in the rest of the world.
“It is a period that the smart phone industry will want to forget.”
The research company said it expects smartphone shipments to continue throughout March, after the virus has spread across Europe and the United States.
Hundreds of millions of potential customers are in limbo – or unwilling to head to the stores.
Strategy Analytics said retailers may decide to offer “generous” discounts on packages to support sales.
Despite warning of losing financial goals and difficulties in supplying the iPhone, Apple announced two new products this week – a new iPad Pro with laser scanning technology, and a new MacBook Air.
But it did so through a press release, not at a high-level event as usual.
“It is the first time that I remember that Apple has announced such a prominent product with such a little commotion,” Benwood, the analyst, told the BBC.