Last month, the number of smartphones delivered in China decreased by over a third, indicating that the worldwide chip shortage is affecting the mobile industry.
According to the government-backed China Academy of Information and Communications (CAICT), shipments decreased 31.8 percent yearly in February, from 21.3 million to 14.5 million.
The figure is less than half of the 32.4 million sent in February 2019 — a year before the Covid-19 outbreak slowed exports dramatically.
Global sales fell by 12.5 percent in 2020 as merchants shuttered their doors and customers postponed purchases; however, the reopening of marketplaces and the availability of 5G handsets at a broader range of price points helped to grow during the last year, particularly in the first half.
However, supply chain interruptions and shortages hampered the rebound in the second half of 2021.
Manufacturing facilities were halted or affected as Covid-19 spread worldwide, and decreasing demand for consumer electronics meant fewer order volumes from vendors. It has been challenging for supply networks to catch up as lockdown measures were removed and consumer activity increased.
As a result, manufacturers have had difficulty obtaining components such as radio frequency units, power management circuits, and other chips, hating the supply of final goods.
This shortfall is expected to be hurting low- and mid-tier handsets more than the luxury section of the market, which could explain the sharp reduction in China, where manufacturers of affordable but feature-rich devices compete fiercely.
According to the most recent numbers from Gartner, Apple and Samsung grew shipments and market share in the fourth quarter of 2021, while Xiaomi had a 3.2 percent increase and Oppo and Vivo saw reductions.
Predictions for when the shortages will end differ, with some predicting that they will continue at least until later this year.