As worldwide smartphone sales deal with supply chain difficulties, Apple reclaims the top spot

According to freshly published numbers from research company Canalys, supply chain concerns continue to have a significant effect on smartphone makers, with worldwide sales increasing just 1% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2021. The figures follow on the heels of Q3 reporting, which showed an overall reduction of 6% due to component supply difficulties.

The company also accounts for a COVID-19 revival, courtesy of the omicron version, which has shut down a number of locations, similar to the pandemic’s early days around two years ago. According to Canalys, the effect is greatest among the market’s smallest firms, who have had the most difficulty locating new suppliers.

“Component makers are eking out extra output, but big foundries will need years to dramatically raise chip capacity,” said the firm’s Mobility VP Nicole Peng in a statement released in conjunction with the latest statistics. “Smartphone manufacturers are already innovating to make the most of their conditions, changing device specifications in reaction to available materials, seeking emerging chipmakers for new IC sources, centering product lines on the top-selling models, and staggered new product launches.”

Larger businesses are less affected by shortages and bottlenecks in general. After three quarters away from the top place in the worldwide market, Apple reclaimed it in the third quarter. The popularity of the iPhone 13 and a strong performance in Mainland China, the world’s biggest smartphone market, are credited with the company’s ascent.

Since last quarter, Apple’s entire marketshare has increased from 12 percent to 23 percent. The earlier dip was due in part to the company’s recent struggles satisfying demand in a number of countries.

“Apple’s supply chain is beginning to improve,” says analyst Sanyam Chaurasia, “but it was nevertheless forced to decrease output in Q4 due to shortages of critical components and couldn’t create enough iPhones to fulfil demand.” “It maintained reasonable delivery schedules in priority areas, but its consumers had to wait for the newest iPhones in certain regions.”

Samsung, on the other hand, fell to second place, dropping from 23% to 20% of the entire market. Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo, all Chinese brands, rounded out the top five for Q4.