iPhone 13 sales aren't matching the iPhone 12 according to reports

iPhone 13
The iPhone 13. (Image credit: TechRadar)

The iPhone 13 got some very good reviews when it was launched in September (ours included), but it seems that the actual sales numbers for these smartphones aren't quite what Apple might have been hoping for.

As Bloomberg reports, Apple is telling its component suppliers that demand for the iPhone 13 has "weakened", and that there's no guarantee that either supply or demand will ramp up next year, as had previously been predicted.

Apple had already cut down production numbers for the iPhone 13 from 90 million units to 80 million units, due mainly to the global chip shortage that is affecting just about every electronics company on the planet at the moment.

iPhone availability

If these communications between Apple and its suppliers have indeed happened – Bloomberg is one of the most reliable outlets out there, so it's likely – it may not mean all that much in terms of how easy it will be to buy an iPhone 13 over the Christmas period.

A quick check on the US and UK Apple websites shows shipping times for the standard iPhone 13 at about a week, and for the iPhone 13 Pro at about two weeks. Not exactly express delivery, but not a huge delay either.

In other words, the difficulties that Apple is having in manufacturing iPhone 13 units seems to have been balanced out by reduced demand, at least for the time being. We'll have to wait and see how that picture changes through the course of 2022.

Analysis: why is the iPhone 13 selling slower than the iPhone 12?

iPhone 12

The iPhone 12. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Cast your mind back to the start of this year and you might remember that the iPhone 12 was helping Apple to a record quarter of smartphone sales. This time around though, it seems that the demand for Apple handsets isn't on the same level – so what's going on?

Some supply problems have affected both the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 13: primarily the ongoing effects of the pandemic and the global chip shortage that means manufacturers can't get gadgets out of the door fast enough. But the iPhone 12 managed strong sales even with lengthy shipping delays.

Part of the explanation is down to the iPhone 12. It was the first iPhone with 5G, its launch was delayed (leading to more pent-up demand), and it came at a time when much of the world had been sitting in their homes all year – meaning people perhaps had a little extra time and cash on their hands.

In contrast, the iPhone 13 doesn't have a flagship new feature, launched on time, and has arrived while we're all much busier and more distracted. Add in stronger competition (consider the Pixel 5 vs the Pixel 6, for example) and it's perhaps not surprising that the iPhone 13 hasn't hit the sales highs of the iPhone 12.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.