Best Buy CEO warns that iPhone 14 Pro models will be difficult to find in US stores this holiday season due to the impact of Covid at the iPhone factory in China.
The CEO of one of the largest electrical retail chains in the United States has warned of iPhone 14 shortages during the holiday season.
Best Buy CEO Corie Barry told Reuters Tuesday that Apple’s high-end iPhones will be in short supply this holiday season.
It comes after a Covid-19 outbreak and a strict regional lockdown at China’s world’s largest iPhone factory significantly impacted iPhone production.
Best Buy’s Corie Barry stated that the electronics retailer was experiencing a shortage of premium iPhone stock and had factored the expected loss in sales into its holiday quarter forecast.
“One of the places where we’re seeing some (inventory) pressure is in those higher-end iconic iPhone devices,” Barry said during a conference call with reporters.
According to Reuters, Apple’s iPhones and other products attract many customers to Best Buy stores and frequently trigger impulse purchases of other gadgets.
According to Reuters, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives estimates that 8 million iPhone 14 units will be sold over the Black Friday weekend, which is about 2 million fewer than last year.
According to Ives, iPhone inventory is down about 25% from a year ago at Apple’s stores.
Despite these shortages, Best Buy forecasted a smaller drop in annual sales than previously estimated, saying it was confident that an increase in deals and discounts would attract more inflation-weary customers during the holiday season, according to Reuters.
Lockdown in the factory
Foxconn’s main iPhone plant in Zhengzhou, which employs approximately 200,000 people and is sometimes referred to as “iPhone City,” was placed on lockdown earlier this month.
After the Taiwanese company attempted to control a Covid outbreak at the world’s largest iPhone factory, Chinese authorities decided to shut down the entire area.
Before the lockdown, local reports indicated that a large number of workers at the Zhengzhou plant had fled the site as Coronavirus cases increased due to fears of lockdowns or Covid-19 outbreaks.
That lockdown lasted until Wednesday, November 9, but it did not appear to stop cases from spreading, with infections discovered in October and November.
Even though the facility is no longer under lockdown, production remains halted due to a lack of personnel (a lot of whom had fled).
According to media reports, the factory’s capacity could be reduced by up to 30% this month.
Foxconn has stated that it will do everything possible to fulfill its order book, and Chinese officials have reportedly begun drafting in the retired military and government personnel to assist.
After reports that people’s freedoms were still restricted inside, officials were accused of “performative lockdown lifting.”
Apple warned customers of longer wait times for new iPhones as the lockdown impacted shipments of the device’s latest generation, which was released in September.
The factory is critical to Apple because it houses roughly 70% of the iPhone assembly line.
Normally, the plant employs 200,000 people and produces 500,000 iPhones per day.
Last week, Chinese media reported that 100,000 new workers had been hired as a result of a recruitment drive.