Smartphones supplies in India hit an all-time low, why and more

Smartphones supplies in India hit an all-time low why and more

India is almost stocked out of popular smartphone models of several leading brands including Xiaomi, Samsung, Apple and Realme in both ecommerce marketplaces and retail shelves, with industry executives saying supplies of some handsets are at an all-time low varying between 20% and 30% of the actual demand.

Industry executives said brands had filled the channels during Diwali and ensured availability even when supplies were low, but now several top-selling models are completely stocked out with supplies of most brands badly affected since end-October. Market researchers like IDC and Counterpoint feel this would impact sales during the October-December quarter.

“Supplies of popular models for some smartphone brands have become extremely low after Diwali and currently it’s just a fraction of the demand. As a result, the stock situation is extremely low. There is no clarity from the brands when supplies will improve,” said a senior executive with a leading cell phone retail chain in the South with over 700 stores.

The smartphone manufacturers are hit by continuing global shortage of semiconductor chipsets and some diversion of stock to the West where retailers and ecommerce companies are preparing for the year-end holiday sales now that peak buying Diwali season is over in India.

Emails sent to Apple, Xiaomi, Realme, Samsung, Amazon and Flipkart remained unanswered till press time on Monday. Counterpoint’s research director Tarun Pathak said this year’s festive season, brands had managed to accumulate some stock whereby demand and supply were at neck-and-neck with pressure on supplies.

“Post Diwali, there is a drop in demand by 30-40% like any usual year but supplies are even badly impacted due to chipset shortage. Earlier years, the post Diwali demand would be catered by the unsold inventory, which is nil this year. We expect this acute shortage of popular smartphone models will linger on till year-end when brands will again try to accumulate some stock for India,” said Pathak.

The shortage is across price points, with maximum in entry level to sub-₹20,000 and super premium segment. In Amazon, all iPhone models are stocked out except the two-year old iPhone 11. Flipkart is stocked out of iPhone 13, while at Apple-owned e-store, iPhone 11 and 13 Pro series have a delivery lead time of two-three weeks.

Similarly, popular models of Xiaomi like Redmi Note 10 Pro, Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, Redmi 10 Prime, Redmi Note 10T 5G and Mi 10i are either completely stocked out or have limited stock available, even in the company-owned e-store. Same for some best-selling models of Samsung like those in the M and S series.

“Supplies have almost dried up in the sub-Rs 10,000 segment, which is the majority of the market. Whatever is there, the brands are moving the stock to online marketplaces whereby supply situation of the general trade has further aggravated since the festival season,” said Arvinder Khurana, president at All India Mobile Retailers Association.

IDC in its latest report said smartphone shipments to India during the July-September quarter were down by 12% as compared to the same period last year due to component shortage, while the researcher has forecasted a decline in October-December period as well.


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