Apple Expands iPhone Sales In Spite Of Shortages

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Apple retakes worldwide No. 2 smartphone spot as Samsung retains lead in spite of decline, shipping more than 3 million foldable devices in third quarter

Apple’s iPhone has regained the No. 2 smartphone position worldwide with increased sales, even as other vendors marked lower shipments due to supply constraints, according to industry research.

Overall smartphone shipments in the third quarter declined by about 6 percent, according to figures from Canalys, Counterpoint and IDC.

But Apple saw iPhone sales rise by about one-fifth from 41.7 million to 50.4 million, according to IDC.

It captured about 15.2 percent of the global market, knocking Xiaomi into third place, IDC said.

Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip. Image credit: Samsung
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip. Image credit: Samsung

Shortages

Samsung retained the top spot with 20.8 percent market share, but shipments were down 14.2 percent.

The third quarter is typically weak ahead of the Christmas season, but the drop of 6.7 percent estimated by IDC was more than twice the 2.9 percent the firm had predicted.

“The supply chain and component shortage issues have finally caught up to the smartphone market, which until now seemed almost immune to this issue despite its adverse impact on many other adjacent industries,” said IDC research director Nabila Popal.

The smartphone market had registered double-digit growth earlier in the year – more than 25 percent in the first quarter of 2021 and more than 13 percent in the second quarter, IDC said.

Apple growth

Power shortages in China have contributed to a 300 percent rise in silicon prices this year, and more stringent testing and quarantining procedures for the pandemic have delayed the transportation of parts and products.

Popal said IDC doesn’t expect supply issues to ease until “well into next year”.

Apple increased its iPhone sales, including those of its latest mode, the iPhone 13, in part due to its network of retail stores and price cuts to the older iPhone 12.

Canalys analyst Ben Stanton said shortages are worst at the low-end, and Apple is less exposed to such issues because of its focus onthe premium end of the market.

Counterpoint said it expects Apple to take a similar worldwide market share of around 20 percent in the fourth quarter.

Samsung foldables

Central and Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan and China, were the worst hit by the shortages, with shipments down by 23.2 percent and 11.6 percent respectively, IDC said.

The US declined only 0.2 percent, while Western Europe dipped by 4.6 percent and China 4.4 percent due to those regions being prioritised by manufacturers.

Samsung shipped 69 million phones for the quarter, according to both IDC and Canalys. Canalys said Samsung was hit by supply shortages of the Galaxy A series and the lack of a new Galaxy Note.

But the company shipped more than 3 million foldable devices, including the Galaxy Z Flip3 and Fold3.

China’s Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo took the remaining top five spots, with Xiaomi seeing demand outstrip supply, partly due to a “blockbuster performance” in the second quarter that depleted stock, according to Canalys’ Stanton.

“In contrast, OPPO and Vivo had a rebound in Q3 after COVID ravaged core markets in South Asia in the previous quarter,” he said in a research note.

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