SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Shipments of smartphones within China fell 33.9% year-on-year to 26.97 million handsets in April, the China Academy of Information and Communications (CAICT) reported on Tuesday.
The figures suggest that the handset industry has returned to pre-pandemic levels but nevertheless mark an end to a surge earlier this year.
Shipment numbers are down from 40.8 million in April 2020 and 35.5 million in March 2021, according to the CAICT, a state-backed think tank.
The year-on-year decline is in part due to April 2020’s surge in shipments following a low point as COVID-19 peaked in China.
However, the most recent monthly figures also fall below those of April 2019, when vendors shipped 34.8 million devices.
Despite the pandemic’s retreat in China, handset brands now face production issues due to a global computer chip shortage.
A combination of factors including demand miscalculation, unexpected factory shutdowns and U.S.-China tensions caused a number of automobile companies to report chip sourcing issues in late December.
That shortage has since spread to many types of chips and all kinds of hardware, including smartphones.
(Reporting by Josh Horwitz, editing by Ed Osmond)