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Supply chain constraints cause 6.7% decline in global smartphone shipments

The double-digit growth in the smartphone market in the early quarters of 2021 came to an end in the third quarter of 2021 (3Q21) as worldwide shipments declined 6.7% year over year. According to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 331.2 million units during the quarter. Although a slight decline was expected in the seasonally low third quarter, the actual decline were 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. On top of component shortages, the industry has also been hit with other manufacturing and logistical challenges. 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.”

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% year over year. However, in regions like the U.S., 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.

Samsung finished the quarter in the top position with 69.0 million units shipped and 20.8% market share. This was a year-over-year decline of 14.2% largely due to supply constraints. Apple regained the second position with 50.4 million units shipped for 15.2% market share and an incredible 20.8% year-over-year 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 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 year-over-year shipment growth of 5.8% while OPPO ended the quarter with 8.6% year-over-year growth.

Worldwide Smartphone Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q3 2021 (shipments in millions of units)
Company 3Q21 Shipments 3Q21 Market Share 3Q20 Shipments 3Q20 Market Share Year-Over-Year Change
1. Samsung 69.0 20.8% 80.4 22.7% -14.2%
2. Apple 50.4 15.2% 41.7 11.7% 20.8%
3. Xiaomi 44.3 13.4% 46.5 13.1% -4.6%
4T. vivo* 33.3 10.1% 31.5 8.9% 5.8%
4T. OPPO* 33.2 10.0% 30.6 8.6% 8.6%
Others 101.1 30.5% 124.3 35.0% -18.7%
Total 331.2 100.0% 354.9 100.0% -6.7%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, October 28, 2021


  • Data are preliminary and subject to change.
  • Company shipments are branded device shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.
  • The “Company” represents the current parent company (or holding company) for all brands owned and operated as a subsidiary.
  • Figures represent new shipments only and exclude refurbished units.

* IDC declares a statistical tie in the worldwide smartphone market when there is a difference of 0.1% or less in the share of revenues or shipments among two or more vendors.
CT Bureau

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