Planning to buy Apple’s shiny new iPhone 14 as Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season? Good luck. The device is in extremely short supply both online and at the company’s retail outlets, according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives.
“We believe demand for iPhone 14 units into the all-important Black Friday holiday weekend is way ahead of supply and could cause major shortages leading into Christmas season,” he said in a report on Friday.
Blame COVID. A renewed outbreak of the disease in China has slowed production at FoxConn, the electronics manufacturer that assembles iPhones for Apple. China’s “zero-COVID” policy isn’t helping, either. Authorities reported record high COVID-19 case numbers in mainland China for the second consecutive day Friday. The surging caseload has prompted new and spreading residential lockdowns, as well as business shutdowns in multiple major cities.
“The zero-COVID China shutdowns in Foxconn have been a major gut punch to Apple this quarter and we believe have taken roughly 5% of iPhone 14 units out of the supply chain and thus putting Cupertino in a ‘major shortage’ heading into the next month,” Ives said.
He expects Apple to sell roughly 8 million iPhones over the Black Friday weekend, down from 10 million a year ago.
Labor strife at FoxConn this week is creating another headache for Apple. A dispute over pay and working conditions at the company’s factory in Zhengzou in central China sparked employee protests. The Taiwanese company was forced to apologize on Thursday after police roughed up workers, blaming the pay dispute on a “technical error” in adding new employees.
“If Zhengzhou remains at lower capacity the next few weeks and continues to see the unrest build with workers, this would cause clear major iPhone Pro shortages into the all-important Christmas time period, especially in the U.S.,” Ives said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report