Supply chain constraints finally catch up as global smartphone shipments dipped 6.7 percent...

Shawn Knight

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What just happened? The double-digit growth enjoyed by the smartphone market in the first couple of quarters of 2021 has come to an abrupt end according to the latest information from the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Preliminary data from its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report shows that smartphone vendors collectively shipped 331.2 million handsets during the third quarter of 2021. That’s down 6.7 percent from the 354.9 million units shipped during the same period a year earlier.

This time of year is traditionally slow and a slight decline was expected, but analysts were surprised to see that the actual decline was more than double what was forecasted.

Individually, Samsung led the way with 69 million units shipped in the quarter, capturing 20.8 percent of the market share in the process. Apple finished in second place with 50.4 million iPhones shipped, good for 15.2 percent of the pie and an increase of 20.8 percent year over year.

Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo rounded out the top five in that order with shipments of 44.3 million units, 33.3 million units and 33.2 million units, respectively. All other vendors outside of the top five collectively shipped 101.1 million units, good for a 30.5 percent share.

Nabila Popal, research director with IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, said the supply chain and component shortage issues have finally caught up to the smartphone market. Just yesterday, for example, Apple revealed in its earnings report that supply constraints cost them an estimated $6 billion in the third quarter.

“Despite all efforts to mitigate the impact, all major vendors' production targets for the fourth quarter have been adjusted downwards,” Popal said. “With continued strong demand, we don't anticipate the supply-side issues to ease until well into next year.”

Image credit Karolina Grabowska

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