After a boost in sales in the first half of 2021, the smartphone market experienced a 6.7% decline year over year (YoY) in worldwide shipments. Based on the data from the International Data Corp. (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 331.2 million units during the quarter.
IDC noted that although a slight decline was expected in the seasonally low third quarter, the actual decline was over twice the forecast of -2.9% growth.
“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 Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. “In all honestly, it was never fully immune to the shortages, but until recently the shortages were not severe enough to cause a decline in shipments and was simply limiting the rate of growth. However, the issues have now compounded, and shortages are affecting all vendors alike.”
Samsung finished the quarter in the top position with 69 million units shipped and a 20.8% market share. This was a YoY decline of 14.2% largely due to supply constraints. Apple regained the second position with 50.4 million units shipped for a 15.2% market share and a 20.8% YoY growth. Xiaomi registered a 4.6% decline in 3Q21 after high double-digit growth over the previous four quarters as it also struggled with supply issues that it hadn’t faced in earlier quarters. Xiaomi still captured the third position with a 13.4% share and shipments of 44.3 million units. vivo and OPPO tied for fourth place with shipments of 33.3 million and 33.2 million units and market shares of 10.1% and 10.0%. vivo saw YoY shipment growth of 5.8% while OPPO ended the quarter with 8.6% year-over-year growth.
While almost all regions saw a decline in shipments during 3Q21, the severity of the impact varied between regions. Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Asia Pacific (excluding Japan and China) (APeJC) suffered the largest declines of -23.2% and -11.6% YoY However, in regions like the United States, Western Europe, and China, the declines were much less pronounced at -0.2%, -4.6%, and -4.4% year over year, respectively, as these regions are usually given more priority by vendors.
“On top of component shortages, the industry has also been hit with other manufacturing and logistical challenges,” Popal said. “Stricter testing and quarantining policies are delaying transportation and power supply constraints in China are restricting manufacturing of key components. Despite all efforts to mitigate the impact, all major vendors’ production targets for the fourth quarter have been adjusted downwards. With continued strong demand, we don’t anticipate the supply-side issues to ease until well into next year.”