Bad news for Black Friday smartphone deals

Canalys has published its early estimates for smartphone shipments in the third quarter of Q3 2021, suggesting that consumers should not expect big Black Friday deals on these devices later this year.

The research firm’s data showed global smartphone shipments dropped 6% year-on-year between July 2021 and September 2021, as manufacturers struggled to meet demand amid component shortages.

“The chipset famine has truly arrived,” said Canalys principal analyst Ben Stanton.

“The smartphone industry is striving to maximise production of devices as best it can.”

“On the supply side, chipset manufacturers are increasing prices to disincentivise over-ordering, in an attempt to close the gap between demand and supply,” he explained.

Despite this, Stanton expects these shortages will continue “well into 2022”.

“As a result of this, as well as high costs of global freight, smartphone brands have reluctantly pushed up device retail pricing,” Stanton said.

He added that many retail and distribution channels were nervous heading into important sales holidays, such as Singles’ Day in China and Black Friday in the West.

“Channel inventories of smartphones are already running low, and as more customers start to anticipate these sales cycles, the impending wave of demand will be impossible to fulfil,” Stanton said.

As a result, customers should expect smartphone discounts to be less aggressive in 2021.

He recommended that smartphone brands constrained on margin should look to bundle wearables and IoT devices to create good customer incentives.

Discounted smartphone bundles with devices less impacted by the chip shortage – like smartwatches and earbuds – could appeal to customers on Black Friday.

In its Q3 Market Pulse, Canalys found Samsung remained the world’s leading smartphone manufacturer, with 23% market share, the same as during Q3 2020.

Apple took second place from Xiaomi, growing its share from 12% to 15%, buoyed by strong early demand for the iPhone 13, launched in late September.

Xiaomi’s share remained flat at 14%, while two other Chinese giants — Vivo and Oppo — rounded out the top 5.

The table below shows the market share of the world’s top 5 smartphone vendors during the third quarters of 2020 and 2021.

Market share of top 5 smartphone brands – Q3 2020 vs Q3 2021
Vendor % market share 2020 % market share 2021
Samsung 23% 23%
Apple 12% 15%
Xiaomi 14% 14%
vivo 9% 10%
OPPO* 9% 10%
*Includes OnePlus sales

Now read: Best smartphones for under R500 per month

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Bad news for Black Friday smartphone deals