Major suppliers to Apple in Taiwan recorded another substantial sales decline in September, falling 16.4% year-over-year to NT$1.24 trillion ($38.7 billion). The drop comes despite the launch of Apple’s latest iPhone models and new Android devices from competitors and follows similar data from the PC market.
According to an Oct. 12 Bloomberg report, the sales decline extends a downward trend that began in 2022 for Taiwan’s contract chipmakers and electronics assemblers that supply Apple and other tech giants. The September figures mark the steepest monthly drop since June. For the first nine months of 2023, sales have fallen 8.8% compared to the same period last year.
The new iPhone 15 lineup went on sale in September, with upgrades to the base model receiving positive reviews. However, the iPhone launch did little to boost suppliers’ sales. This highlights the smartphone market’s maturity and Apple’s challenges in spurring demand for new models.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, recorded a 13.4% sales decline in September. This was better than many analysts feared, reflecting TSMC’s strength in non-smartphone segments like high-performance computing chips.
Device assemblers like Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn) and Compal Electronics posted double-digit percentage declines in September. Quanta Computer, another major Apple contract manufacturer, also saw significant decreases — revealing challenges faced across Apple’s Taiwan-based assembly ecosystem.
The sales downturn reflects both softening consumer demand for personal electronics like smartphones and market saturation in developed countries. The next catalyst for growth in the smartphone market is unclear, as new features like foldable displays have yet to go mainstream.
Going forward, Apple and its suppliers must target growth avenues outside smartphones and PCs, including new product categories like AR/VR headsets. Software and services have become increasingly vital to Apple’s results as hardware sales moderate — but, in the near term, Taiwan suppliers face more uncertainty and potential downside amid a sluggish global economy and weak electronics demand.