Apple returns to No. 1 as global smartphone shipments grapple with supply chain concerns

According to new figures from analyst firm Canalys, supply chain issues continue to have a major impact on the growth of global shipments of smartphones. The drop in the overall number was due to issues over component supply, and came on the tail of Q3 reports.

The omicron variant of COVID-19 has sent a number of locals into shutdown reminiscent of the early days of the Pandemic two years ago. The impact is greatest among the smaller manufacturers in the market, who have had the greatest issues finding new suppliers.

It will take years for major foundries to increase chip capacity, but component manufacturers are eking out additional production, according to the firm. Smartphone brands are already innovating to make the most of their circumstances, tweaking device specs in response to available materials, approaching emerging chipmakers to secure new sources for ICs, and focusing product lines on the best-selling models and staggering new product releases.

Canalys is an image.

Smaller companies are less impacted by shortages and bottlenecks. Apple returned to the top spot in the global market after three quarters away. The success of the iPhone 13 and a solid performance in China has led to the company's rise.

Since last quarter, Apple's marketshare has increased from 12% to 23%. The company had trouble meeting demand in a number of regions in recent quarters.

Apple was forced to cut production in the fourth quarter due to shortages of key components and could not meet demand, according to analyst Sanyam Chaurasia. In some markets, customers had to wait to get their hands on the latest iPhones, but in other markets, it maintained adequate delivery times.

The total market saw a drop in the percentage ofSamsung that was second. The top five for Q4 were Chinese manufacturers.