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Smartphone shipments slump by 11.1 per cent as COVID continues to impact the market


Ongoing supply chain issues have caused the global smartphone market to shrink by 11.1 per cent in 2021, according to the latest global smartphone shipment results report from research group Omdia.

In Q3 2021, 317.7 million smartphone units were shipped, down from the 357.4 million units in Q3 2020.

The supply issues have halted the momentum of the smartphone market which had been growing year on year since the third quarter in 2020.

But the COVID pandemic continues to have an impact on smartphone makers and customers around the world.

“The shortage of semiconductor-related components supply since the beginning of the year is affecting set shipments in the second half of the year rather than in the first half,” said Jusy Hong, senior research manager for wireless devices at Omdia.

“In particular shipments from third-tier OEMs which have less economies of scale than first tier companies, are significantly decreasing.”

Samsung was again in the top spot shipping 69.2 million units in Q3 2021, that’s down 14.8 per cent when compared to the 81.2 million units shipped in Q3 2020.

Samsung’s smartphone production in the second quarter was affected due to the spread of COVID-19 Delta variant in India and Vietnam where its major factories are located.

Apple has reclaimed its second spot from Xiaomi with shipments growing by 17.6 per cent quarter on quarter and 22.7 per cent year on year.

Apple shipped 50.9 million units in the third quarter of 2021, that’s up from the 41.5 million units from the same quarter a year earlier.

Apple’s return to its traditional September launch timeframe was also beneficial and was able to return to strong Q3 sales instead of forcing a delay until the fourth quarter as it did last year.

Huge sales of the iPhone 12 have continued since last year with the company expecting similar results with the release of the iPhone 13.

Omdia’s report shows that iPhone 13 production targets have been lowered due to the recent shortage of components.

“After four quarters of year-on-year growth, the smartphone market lost steam in Q3 2021,” said Gerrit Schneemann, principal analyst at Omdia.

“Even Apple’s on-time delivery of its latest iPhone generation could not prevent the market from shipping 11 per cent fewer handsets compared to Q3 2020.

“The interwoven impacts of the global pandemic and supply chain pressures force smartphone OEMs to manage their inventory diligently.”