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Component shortages have been wreaking havoc on the tech industry since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and smartphones are no outsider. The short production schedule has given way to smaller stocks and delays in launches. All of this has resulted in a decline in smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the third quarter of 2020, Gartner reported today.

According to data from the research firm shared today, sales to consumers declined by 6.8 percent. Shortages in parts such as integrated circuits for power management and radio frequencies have affected smartphone production around the world.

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“Despite strong consumer demand, delays in product launches, long delivery schedules and insufficient inventory on the channel have led to a decline in smartphone sales,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner, in a statement accompanying the announcement.

The analyst said production schedules for “basic and utility” phones were more affected by supply constraints than “premium”. As a result, premium smartphone sales actually grew during this period, even though there was an overall decline in smartphone sales.

samsung on top

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Still, buyers had limited options, Gartner said. Samsung won the largest market share (20.2 percent) thanks to its foldable smartphone.

Apple’s quarterly market share (14.2 percent) was aided by new features in its iPhones, namely the A15 processor and improved battery life and camera sensors. Gartner also pointed to interest in 5G.

Smartphones aren’t the only technology that still suffers from component shortages. Analysts expect PCs to be hit hard this holiday season due to supply-chain issues. The market has also reportedly declined in Q3 2021 as compared to Q3 2020. And demand for Chromebooks has fallen sharply as people return to in-person learning and work.

In May, Gartner predicted that the global chip crisis would end by Q2 2022. But the devices are expected to become more readily available at that time, with the research firm noting that “the substrate capacity shortage could potentially extend to Q4 2022”.

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