Global smartphone sales fell 6.8 percent in the third quarter of this year, but the reason was not a drop in demand: blame the semiconductor problem. However, Apple had a strong third quarter, moving ahead of Xiaomi to capture the second-largest market share after leader Samsung.
The information comes from Gartner’s most recent market intelligence study. According to the research firm, the depressingly familiar problem of chip scarcity has caused smartphone sales to end-users to plummet 6.8 percent year on year.
“Despite strong consumer demand, smartphone sales declined due to delayed product launches, longer delivery schedule, and insufficient inventory at the channel,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. “Supply constraints impacted the production schedule of basic and utility smartphones much more than premium smartphones.”
According to Gartner, radiofrequency and power management integrated circuits are in limited supply, which has slowed production and hurt sales. However, there was some good news for phone firms, as premium phones increased in popularity during the quarter, despite total sales decreasing.
Looking at the top five, Samsung held on to first place with 69 million sales, despite a 1.9 percent decline in market share year this year. Strong demand for its Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 devices aided the Korean company.
Apple (48 million) was slightly ahead of Xiaomi (44 million). According to Gartner, enhancements to the iPhone 13 range, such as the bionic A15 sensor and camera paired with Apple’s trade-in programs, boosted sales. Meanwhile, Xiaomi has continued to expand across Europe and the Middle East.
While last year’s lockdowns boosted smartphone sales, the majority of the fall in Q3 2021 may be traced to the chip crisis, which is hitting practically every electronic consumer product (and vehicle) on the market from more costly graphics cards to consoles. As a result, several manufacturers are now selling gaming PCs without specialized GPUs.