Global components crunch upsets the Apple Cart in India, hits supply of iPhone 13 series
Even the company-owned online store is showing a delivery delay of one to five weeks. The pricier iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, which have been more in demand, have a longer waiting time.
“Apple distributors have informed us that iPhone 13 series supplies will be limited and will certainly be much lower than demand for several weeks,” said the chief executive of a leading electronics retail chain.
He said that while stocks are always an issue during an iPhone launch, the situation this time is exacerbated by uncertainty of supplies, longer waiting times and no commitment on the availability of any model.
The Covid-19 surge in countries such as China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines has impacted component manufacturing units, including that of Apple, much beyond what the company had initially expected, as per industry executives and media reports.
In July, Apple chief financial officer Luca Maestri warned of supply constraints during the September quarter, primarily for iPhone and iPad.
Market tracker IDC India research director Navkendar Singh said there is a component shortage – from the chipset to other key parts – as well as logistical challenges that are leading to this shortage of the new models.
“The shortage is one of the reasons that Apple is yet to commit to any launch date for the new Apple Watch in India,” said Singh. “There is relatively less of a supply issue for the older iPhone 12 series. Since they are now making many of the earlier models locally, those will be mostly available.”
Industry executives said this is the first time Apple has launched its latest iPhone in India in the first phase, along with major markets such as the US, the UK, China, Australia, Canada and Japan.
iPhone 12 to Drive Festive Sales
“As India was part of the global launch, those customers who would buy from abroad or the grey market are now buying from the proper channel here. Hence, demand has been robust and more for the more expensive models,” said the electronics retail chain CEO quoted earlier.
An email sent to Apple India remained unanswered.
While the company is trying to build up iPhone 13 stock during the Navratri-Diwali period, analysts said sales during October-December will be primarily driven by the older iPhone 12 models that are in supply.
Tarun Pathak, research director of Counterpoint Technology Market Research, said supply challenges for the iPhone 13 series were being reported in several global markets. “Some of the shipments are likely to be postponed to 2022, but we still think Apple will have 4-5 million handset shipments to India this year,” he said. “Apple has a strong momentum going into the festive season and it’s the iPhone 12 series that is likely to sell well. There, we don’t see any supply issues.”
Oct-Dec Shipment Peak
In 2020, Apple shipped around 3.2 million iPhones to India, its highest ever. Supplies during October-December usually account for almost half the annual shipments. The iPhone 13 series has four models with multiple variants within a price range of Rs 69,900 to Rs 1,79,900.
Apple has received almost the same number of pre-bookings for the iPhone 13 series in India as for the iPhone 12 series last year, which was over 120,000 units – its highest at the time, industry executives said. The company supplied around 130,000 units of the new series to India for the launch that took place on Friday, they said.
The chief of a leading cellphone retail chain said that as there were supply shortages in Apple’s largest markets, including the US, it may prioritise those markets a bit due to their sheer size and contribution to revenue.
Retailers said they have been able to fulfill all pre-booking orders, but walk-in customers are turning back disappointed. Most iPhone 13 models were sold out in Reliance Digital by Sunday, while Amazon posted that models were to return to stock on October 5. On Flipkart, only one or two variants were available.