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Apple’s China Supply Chain Slowly Returning to Normal Despite Coronavirus, Says Analyst

By Aditya Raghunath - Mar 19, 2020 at 2:05PM

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The shipping time for Apple products has reduced significantly as China reopens manufacturing units.

Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster estimates that the lead times for four Apple (AAPL 1.34%) products have significantly improved over the last two weeks. Loup Ventures is tracking the availability of the 64 GB iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro as well as the AirPods Pro and second-generation AirPods.

The lead time for the iPhone is an average of two days compared to the peak lead time of 6.7 days as of March 4, 2020. The shipping time for AirPods has also reduced from 10.6 days to 7.4 days in this period.

Image shows a manufacturing unit in China


Munster has attributed this fall in shipping time to a restart of manufacturing units in China. Munster stated, "In the days following Apple's announcement that the March quarter would be below expectations on February 17, we saw lead times extend. In the days following reports of the restart of manufacturing in China, we've seen lead times to improve."

We know that China was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, and the country experienced a huge decline in consumer demand for the first two months of 2020. Now, China is slowly limping back to normalcy and several stores are resuming business.

Apple's supply chain was severely impacted, forcing iPhone users in need of replacement devices to wait longer than typical. The tech giant had also shut all 42 of its stores in China as a precautionary measure last month.

In February, Apple announced that it would miss revenue guidance for the March quarter due to limited supply of its products. As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in equity markets, Apple has fallen 24% from record highs.

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