iPhone and iPad Shipping Times Slide in Asia Ahead of Christmas

According to a new report from Nikkei Asia, Apple has been hit by the supply crunch ahead of the critical holiday season. Due to this, it will not be able to deliver new iPads to customers in key Asian markets ahead of Christmas.

In the Philippines, customers can usually receive new iPhones and iPads in three to five days. However, those who ordered one of the most popular iPad models (Space Grey with 256 GB storage and Wi-Fi) on November 22 will receive deliveries a whopping eight weeks later, on January 14. Similarly, if shoppers order the latest iPhone 13 Pro (256 GB variant in Sierra Blue), the estimated delivery date in the country is long after Christmas, on December 29.

In markets including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Malaysia, the waiting time for the iPhone 13 is approximately four weeks. According to Apple’s website, customers in these countries who ordered products on November 22 will also receive their Christmas presents after Christmas. On the bright side, lead times for the iPhone are shorter than for the iPad but still atypical for this time of the year.

The situation prevails despite Apple using air freight to ship its products to avoid the congestion plaguing seaports. Nikkei Asia reports that the abnormally long delivery times result from production constraints, although disruptions such as COVID-related lockdowns in Vietnam and Malaysia and power restrictions in China have eased.

The publication noted that longer wait times for the iPad reflected Apple’s “iPhone first” strategy. The brand has reportedly prioritized manufacturing iPhones using the shared components and chips at the expense of iPads and older-generation iPhones. This technique reportedly resulted in 50 percent fewer iPads being manufactured between September and October, leading to a stock deficit in stores.

An anonymous source familiar with the matter told Nikkei Asia, “Usually Apple will keep the inventories at its online store at the level that enables the delivery time within five days, so the demand will look robust while the inventory is healthy and not too much. But this year, it has been struggling with the constrained production from the very beginning of the product launches in fall. It’s a headache that has been going on for so long now (sic).”

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Our Take

The holiday season sales gather steam in Asia starting on Singles Day (November 11) and continues through the following month with Black Friday, Double 12 Day (December 12), Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. Although several Asians don’t celebrate Christmas, December 25 is an important occasion for gifting in the Philippines and Japan.

Customers are already late to purchase the newest iPhone and iPad models for holiday season gifting. However, analysts speculate that the problem is set to worsen, and the extended shipping times could change consumer behavior in the short term. It is also possible that Apple is prioritizing iPhone deliveries for customers in the US where Christmas is a major festival. This possibility is corroborated by a recent analysis by JP Morgan that showed iPhone 13 shipping lead times improving in the US. That said, if you are a loyal Apple customer, you’ve probably either already made your holiday season purchase or don’t mind waiting a while for it to arrive. Do you think the supply shortage will ease after the holiday season? Tell us in the comments below.

[Via Nikkei Asia]