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2022-06-06

Sony to Ramp Up PS5 Console Production, Aiming to Boost Sales to 18 million units in New Fiscal Year

Sony stated in an earnings call that PS5 shipments totaled only 11.5 million units in the last fiscal year (2Q21 to 1Q22), missing the target of 14.8 million units. Increasing PS5 game console production will be the company’s main task for now and sales are expected to rise to 18 million units this fiscal year. In addition, Sony also stated that it will strengthen live broadcast services and extend game services to other devices, as well as step up its VR business.

PS5 sales will continue to grow in 2022 but market instability remains

Although Sony had high expectations going into the launch of the PS5 and market reception was good, the PS5’s final sales volume was stifled by production hamstrung as a result of component shortages. Therefore, Sony specifically mentioned in the Business Segment Briefings, comparing US retailer events sold PS4 to the PS5, the PS4 sold an average of 6 units per minute, while the PS5 now sells approximately 1,000 units per minute, demonstrating the strong market demand for PS5.

At the beginning of the PS5 release, there were reports of an insufficient supply of components. When the PS5 was released at the end of 2020, it had been in production for several months and accumulated a certain amount of inventory. Even if production capacity was in short supply when the console was released, Sony could still meet some market demand in the first year with its inventory and then increase production capacity in 2021 to make up the difference. However, in 2021, semiconductor production capacity was also in short supply. Not only game console products, but numerous other products experienced a shortage of components. Naturally, Sony was unable to further increase the supply of PS5 consoles, resulting in PS5 sales coming in lower than originally expected. Sales even declined in 1Q22. As the imbalance between supply and demand of semiconductors gradually eases in 2022, Sony predicts that PS5 production will begin to increase to fulfill market demand and announced a sales target for this fiscal year of 18 million units.

Even so, there remain many uncertainties in 2022. First of all, although pandemic lockdowns in China have yet to directly affect the assembly and production of game consoles in Shandong, the risk of potential fallout still exists given the uncertainty of pandemic development. Secondly, demand from the overall consumer market may be exhausted in 2022. This is due to unfavorable factors such as inflation, wars, pandemics, and rising energy prices. Disposable income in 2022 is forecast to shrink as a result and force consumers to give up some non-essentials or delay purchases. So this may cause consumers to delay replacing their current console with a PS5. A combination of the original dearth of PS5 supply and the impact of the scalper market seriously depleted the stock of products on the market. Some consumers who were eager to enjoy new console games may have switched over to buying an Xbox Series X/S first which may contribute to PS5’s 2022 annual sales volume falling short of Sony’s estimate. TrendForce expects that volume will only reach 14.34 million units. Even if this forecast references the range of Sony’s fiscal year (2Q22 to 1Q23), estimated sales volume will only increase to 16 million units.

(Image credit: Pixabay)

2022-06-01

Global Packaging and Testing Output Value Reached US$82.139 Billion in 2021, 25.83% YoY, China Becomes Fastest Growing Market

According to TrendForce research, driven by strong demand for 5G mobile phones, base stations, automobiles, and HPCs, the global output value of packaging and testing (including foundry and IDM) reached US$82.139 billion in 2021, or 25.83% YoY. This upward momentum is forecast to continue in 2022, taking output value to US$101.185 billion in 2022, or 23.19% YoY. From the perspective of regional distribution, China’s IC packaging and testing output value in 2021 was approximately US$39.443 billion, increasing 31.7% compared with US$29.941 billion in 2020, becoming the world’s fastest-growing major market in terms of packaging and testing output value.

Shanghai pandemic lengthens overall lead time, hinders China’s packaging and testing growth in 2Q22

In 2Q22, Shanghai was locked down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although wafer fabs and packaging and testing plants were still operating normally, the pandemic hindered logistics and the materials required for packaging could not be effectively shipped from Shanghai, affecting transportation efficiency and logistics costs to a certain degree. Overall, China’s packaging and testing industry was not significantly affected by the pandemic in 1Q22 but, in 2Q22, the industry will bear the brunt of the COVID-19 situation, with packaging and testing companies experiencing prolonged overall lead times and sluggish revenue growth.

NEVs and HPCs to become new growth drivers, fabs and packaging and testing companies accelerate deployment

The growth rate of smartphones, a core driving force behind IC packaging and testing output value, is slowing down. Since smartphone shipments peaked at 14.575 million units in 2017, volume has not surpassed this number in the ensuing years. Even though the upgrade from 4G to 5G brought about a wave of replacements, the overall smartphone market has reached maturity, with slowing growth or even negative growth, so its demand on wafer manufacturing and packaging and testing is likewise slowing down.

Aside from mobile phones, growth in HPC and new energy vehicles (NEV) is becoming a new revenue engine. At present, the world’s major automobile production countries are accelerating the penetration rate of NEVs, and packaging and testing companies are also accelerating their investment in the automotive and HPC sectors. From the perspective of fabs, TSMC’s HPC revenue accounted for 41% of total packaging and testing revenue in 1Q22, surpassing mobile phones for the first time and becoming the largest source of the company’s packaging and testing revenue.

(Image credit: Unsplash)

2022-05-25

Smartphone Panel Shipments Forecast to reach 1.872 billion in 2022, Chinese Companies Accounting for More Than 50%

According to TrendForce research, after smartphone panel shipments peaked at 1.95 billion in 2018, overall shipments declined gradually year over year. After 2020, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, shipments fell sharply to 1.796 billion units. In 2021, as the pandemic festered along with serious shortages of components overall, downstream customers continued to raise inventories to allay possible risks of shortages, driving the scale of panel shipment upwards again to 1.888 billion units. Looking forward in 2022, as mobile phone shipments are expected to remain flat, overall smartphone panel shipments have the opportunity to maintain a similar level to that in 2021, reaching approximately 1.872 billion units, a decline of only approximately 0.9%.

Judging from the shipment scale of major panel makers, BOE has become the global leader in smartphone panel shipments and it has an opportunity to maintain a scale of 502 million panels in 2022. SDC ranks second and it is expected to grow to the level of 479 million units in 2022, of which all shipments are AMOLED panels. Third to fifth consist of Tianma Microelectronics, Innolux, and TCL. From the perspective of the previous five manufacturers, the three major panel manufacturers in China alone contributed approximately 52.1% of global smartphone panel shipments, meaning that China has become an important hub for the production of mobile phone-related components and assembly, followed by South Korea panel companies at 28.5%, Taiwanese panel companies at 10.5%, and Japanese panel companies at 8.9%.

The proportion of AMOLED panels is still growing in the mobile phone panel market. As a-Si LCD panels fulfill demand for the low-end entry-level market and LTPS LCD panels nestle between the two, the market is becoming increasingly crowded. From the perspective of AMOLED technology trends, in response to changes in mobile phone specifications, AMOLED is currently developing in the direction of power conservation and folding. Therefore, technologies such as LTPO backplane and COE form the key development directions of several major panel manufacturers at this stage. Excluding SDC , which maintains certain leading advantages and is the benchmark for other panel manufacturers, panel specification requirements required by brands such as Apple for the iPhone will also have a significant impact on the development direction of AMOLED panel specifications. At present, China’s production capacity is mainly based on flexible AMOLED panels, while SDC has invested resources in both rigid AMOLED and flexible AMOLED panels. According to the overall AMOLED panel shipment plan for 2022, shipment scale is expected to be approximately 703 million units, or 15.4% YoY.

In the past, LTPS panels were produced predominantly by Japanese panel manufacturers. In the early days, due to these companies’ close partnership with Apple, LTPS panels were primarily used in mid-to-high-end smartphone models, which also led to a wave of LTPS LCD production line expansion. However, as the technology matured, coupled with the successive rise of Chinese panel plants and the growth of Chinese mobile phone brands, the primary panel manufacturers in the overall LTPS LCD supply have gradually switched from Japanese to Chinese panel companies and prices and costs have also continued to improve and decline. Overall LTPS LCD panel factory shipments are forecast to reach approximately 494 million units in 2022, a YoY decline of 10.7%.

a-Si LCD panels were an important foundation in the development of the entire smartphone panel market. However, with the rise of LTPS LCD and the subsequent increase in AMOLED panel production capacity, a-Si panels have gradually retreated to the low-end entry-level mobile phone market. a-Si LCD is mainly based on the HD resolution and the bulk of supply still comes from Chinese panel manufacturers, of which BOE is the main panel supplier. It is worth mentioning, due to fierce competition in the low-end mobile phone panel market, most Japanese and Korean panel manufacturers have successively reduced their supply of a-Si panels. Among Taiwanese panel manufacturers, AUO has also continued to reduce the supply of its a-Si panels. Shipments of a-Si LCD panels in 2022 is forecast at approximately 675 million units, a decline of 7.0% YoY.

(Image credit: Unsplash)

2022-05-17

China’s Lockdowns Erode Car Production and Sales, May Reduce Global Car Sales by 80 million units in 2022

Due to the implementation of lockdowns and dynamic zero-COVID in Shanghai and other locations in China, a large number of automotive supply chain manufacturers have been idle since March and the implementation of passive measures in many locales has led to a decline in both production and sales. A large number of automotive companies are clustered in Shanghai and it is the hub of the entire Chinese automotive industry. Many foreign automotive companies, Tier 1 suppliers, important parts and components headquarters, production bases, and distribution centers are located here, such as Tesla’s Shanghai plant.

This also includes an important state-owned automotive company, SAIC Motor and all its subsidiary automotive factories and wide network of suppliers. The total production capacity of Shanghai and Jilin accounts for approximately 20% of the whole of China. The production volume of major automakers in Shanghai in April 2022 will drop by 75% compared with March, while the production volume of major joint venture automakers in Changchun (Jilin Province) will drop by 54%. The drops in these two regions were sharper than the 38% decline in China as a whole. Recently, several districts in Beijing have been locked down. The impact of this on sales depends on the duration of lockdown. BAIC Motor, Beijing Benz, and Beijing Hyundai are located in Beijing and these companies will bear the brunt of these lockdowns if they are required to suspend operations.

Further discussing the three major effects of this wave of lockdowns, first, the lockdowns will disrupt the pace of new car launches in spring. Second, the export plans of automotive companies will be impeded, which will slow the expansion of Chinese car companies into overseas markets. Third, there is a risk of stagnant demand. The stagnation of demand can be viewed from several perspectives.

First, is the closure of traditional distribution channel car dealerships due to the decrease in orders. According to China Automobile Dealers Association statistics, more than 20% of automobile dealers in China have closed down, which hinders the car purchase process. In addition, since automobile pricing continues to rise due to a number of environmental factors, if delivery is continuously delayed or the acceptance of car orders is suspended, there is a risk of consumption shrinking as time goes on. Third, the negative impact of lockdowns on economic activities, employment, and salary income, coupled with global inflation, will bring uncertainty to demand in China’s automotive market in the second half of 2022.

The global auto market is experiencing a very unstable period. The lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the persisting shortage of semiconductor chips, and the Ukrainian-Russian war has caused chaos in the supply chain in Europe and other regions and it seems the war will last longer than expected. Many automotive plants are still unable to operate smoothly.  Facing sustained production reduction or the transfer of production capacity, coupled with China’s lockdown and zero-COVID policies which began in March, global car sales in 1Q22 amounted to only 19.6 million units, down 7% from the same period in 2021.

Although the auto industry accounts for the majority of the work resumption whitelist announced by Shanghai in April, restoring production capacity is expected to take some time as manpower and transportation capacity are still limited and sales may still decline or remain low. Therefore, after taking into account the regional consideration of the Chinese market in 2Q22, sales volume is expected to be 17.7 million units and annual sales volume is revised downward to 80 million units, an annual decline of 1.3%. This forecast is based on the assumption of a supply turnaround leading to rebounding sales in the second half of 2022, so changes in various environmental factors will strongly affect the revision of future expectations.

(Image credit: Pixabay)

2022-05-16

Bucking Trends NEV Market Grew in 1Q22 with Global Sales Exceeding 2 Million Units, Says TrendForce

According to TrendForce data, total sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs including battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles) in 1Q22 was 2.004 million units, an annual growth rate of 80%. Battery electric vehicles (BEV) demonstrated the strongest growth with sales reaching 1.508 million units. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) sold 493,000 units. Growth in NEV sales did not come easy, as global auto market sales (regardless of powertrain type) fell by 7% YoY in 1Q22 due to factors such as the chip shortage, Russian-Ukrainian war, and China’s pandemic lockdown and prevention measures.

In terms of BEV brands, Tesla’s sales in 1Q22 exceeded 310,000 units, ranking first with a market share of 20.5%. Chinese automaker BYD ranked second with 143,000 units and a market share of 9.5%. BYD announced in April that it would stop producing fossil-fueled vehicles and transform fully into a NEV manufacturer. Its BEV sales rose sharply by 271% in 1Q22 compared to the same period last year. Wuling, a subsidiary of SAIC-GM, has been ranked second since the launch of the Wuling Hongguang MINI in 2020 but dropped to third place in 1Q22. The main contributor to this was the multitude of models positioned as miniature and low-priced launched in the past year such as the Chery Ant and Changan Benben. As similar products arrived on the market, sales competition hindered growth.

In terms of PHEVs, BYD once again broke its quarterly sales record. Sales volume in 1Q22 reached 142,000 units, with a market share of 28.8%. As more PHEV models gradually appear in the market, it has become increasingly more difficult to capture a large market share. It is worth noting that the sales volume of PHEVs in the European market was lower in 1Q22 both when compared with the same period last year and when compared to 4Q21, affected the performance of some European brands.

TrendForce expects that most automakers will adopt a strategy of prioritizing the production of EVs. Therefore, continued growth in the sale of NEVs is expected in 2022. However, automakers will be under greater cost pressure this year. In particular, the Russian-Ukrainian war has greatly increased the cost of power batteries. This has caused automakers to increase their prices. Some countries including China will withdraw car purchase subsidies which dampens the market for low-priced mini-cars that previously supported the rapid growth of NEVs. Factors such as global inflation will become variables in the future growth momentum of NEVs.

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