Reported phone case constraints could hurt an already bleeding HTC

HTC can’t get enough cases for its new HTC One mini handset, reported Reuters on Tuesday. The media outlet’s sources say that as a result, HTC can’t meet demand for the handset. The HTC One mini isn’t a flagship phone that will lead HTC’s overall smartphone sales but supply issues could add further insult to injury as the company has witnessed falling sales and profits over the last two years.

Indeed, HTC experienced a similar issue with the full-sized HTC One earlier this year. Back in March, the company couldn’t procure enough camera sensors and metal frames for the device, which ended up launching later than expected. That delay meant HTC couldn’t get a sales jump on the then-upcoming Samsung Galaxy S 4.

HTC One size comparison

Why might parts suppliers be holding up HTC? A lack of confidence in the company is one likely reason. It’s simply smart business on the part of component makers to prioritize supply and resources for handset makers that request larger orders and clearly have the money to pay in a timely fashion.

According to Reuters, HTC planned to ship 200,000 units of the HTC One mini; a large number but clearly much smaller than the 9 million iPhones that Apple shipped last weekend. While these two phones don’t likely compete for consumer dollars, a supplier of components has far more potential profit in less time by prioritizing any parts for Apple(s aapl), as an example.

And unfortunately, this situation becomes a chicken-and-egg situation for any chance of HTC’s comeback. If the company doesn’t boost sales, suppliers may relegate it to a lower priority for parts delivery. Without parts, HTC can’t sell phones fast enough in enough quantity to boost sales significantly, and the cycle continues.