LG


2021-09-02

Global Smartphone Production Declines by 11% QoQ to 307 Million Units for 2Q21 Owing to Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic in Southeast Asia, Says TrendForce

The recent surges of COVID-19 cases in India, Vietnam, and other Southeast Asian countries have adversely affected the global smartphone market in terms of production and demand, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. The global smartphone production for 2Q21 fell by 11% QoQ to a total of 307 million units. However, a YoY comparison shows an increase of around 10% for the quarter. The global production for 1H21 came to a total of 652 million units, translating to a growth rate of almost 18% compared with 1H20, when the pandemic was in the initial phase.

While fourth-ranked Apple undergoes a transition period between old and new models, and Samsung experiences a slight dip in market share, smartphone brands have improved their respective product specifications

Samsung’s smartphone production for 2Q21 reached 58.5 million units, which was the highest among all smartphone brands yet represented a 23.5% QoQ decrease. Since India and Vietnam account for the majority of its smartphone production capacity, the severe COVID-19 outbreaks in both countries during 2Q21 had a significant impact on production volume. This year, Samsung will remain as the top smartphone brand by quarterly and annual production. However, it will face increasing difficulty in preserving its steadily shrinking market share in the future. The competition will only intensify as rival brands have become excelled at smartphone design and manufacturing.

OPPO’s smartphone production fell by 6.6% QoQ to 49.5 million units for 2Q21. OPPO’s production figure includes devices from sub-brands Realme and OnePlus. Xiaomi’s smartphone production also came to 49.5 million units for 2Q21, showing a QoQ drop of 2%. Xiaomi’s production figure includes devices from sub-brands Redmi, POCO, and Black Shark. On a YoY basis, OPPO posted a growth rate of 80%, whereas Xiaomi posted a growth rate of almost 70%. The high YoY growth rates were attributed to them capturing some market share abandoned by Huawei and the recovery of China’s smartphone market. Both OPPO and Xiaomi claimed second place in the quarterly ranking. Vivo is another Chinese brand that faces a similar situation. Its smartphone production, which includes devices from sub-brand iQoo, dropped by 8.1% QoQ to 34 million units. Vivo took fifth place in the quarterly ranking. Each of these three Chinese brands has made India its second largest base with respect to production and sales operations. Hence, India’s recent COVID-19 surge affected the production and sales performances of all three brands in 2Q21.

Regarding future plans, all three Chinese brands corrected down their annual production targets at the end of 2Q21 due to the COVID-19 surge in Southeast Asia and the capacity crunch in the foundry market. Lowering the annual production target is going to alleviate the cash flow pressure by preventing the component gaps from widening and the inventory of whole devices from rising. It should be pointed out that OPPO, Xiaomi, and Vivo have been very proactive in developing innovative products in the high-end segment of the smartphone market. The high-end models from these three brands are not able to completely assume the market positions that have been held by the flagship models under Huawei’s P and Mate series. Nonetheless, all three brands have posted strong results in both the domestic and overseas markets. To capture more market share, Xiaomi and OPPO are leveraging their respective sub-brands Redmi and Realme that both offer high performance for price. TrendForce therefore believes that these two brands will be more or less evenly matched in terms of production through this whole year.

Apple’s iPhone production reached its lowest point for the year, and its rank fell to fourth place in 2Q21 because the second quarter is the transition period between last year’s and this year’s iPhone series. The quarterly total iPhone production fell by 22.2% QoQ to around 42 million units. In the aspect of product development, Apple will be releasing four flagship iPhone models this September. The major upgrades that come with the new series are the improved camera and the next-generation A15 processor that is manufactured with TSMC’s 5nm+ process. Other upgrades relate to the optimization of the existing functions. This year’s iPhone line-up can be regarded as an extension of the iPhone 12 series that was released in 2020. With regards to pricing, Apple will be maintaining its proactive approach so as to gain more market share. On the other hand, there is the possibility that Apple’s device production during 2H21 will be affected by the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia. Due to the severity of the outbreak situation, shipments of ICs from that country have experienced delays.

With an annual production of 9.4 million units for 2021, LG officially terminated its smartphone manufacturing operations in 2Q21

LG signaled that it will be selling or shutting down its mobile phone unit at the start of this year, and then the company announced that it will formally close the mobile phone unit this April. The development of new smartphone models was also suspended. According to the shutdown plan, the production of LG smartphones has ceased since the end of 2Q21. Altogether, LG produced around 9.4 million units this year and is estimated to account for about 1% of the market share. As for LG’s regional markets, the company was focusing on expanding its presence in the respective mid-range segments of the North American and Latin American markets. With LG ceasing its smartphone production, the abandoned market share in North America will be mostly divided among Android phone brands Samsung, Lenovo, and brands owned by local telecom companies. In Latin America, Lenovo and Xiaomi will likely benefit the most from LG’s exit.

Persistent uncertainties in the pandemic’s impact may continue to affect smartphone production in 2H21

Regarding the global smartphone production for the whole 2021, TrendForce has corrected down its estimation from the previous version of 1.36 billion units with a YoY growth rate 8.5% to the current version of 1.345 billion units with a YoY growth rate of 7.3%. Going forward, one of the two main focuses of observation will be on whether the pandemic will cause a further decline in smartphone sales. For instance, while Europe and the US are currently experiencing a resurgence of infections, Southeast Asian countries have also been unable to subdue the most recent outbreaks. In addition, the pandemic continues to pose a risk to the smartphone supply chain. Take Malaysia for example. It accounts for a significant share of the global production capacity for OSAT (i.e., around 15%). With the country now becoming a COVID-19 hotspot, there have been disruptions in the supply of some key semiconductor components. This, in turn, will negatively affect smartphone production during the second half of this year.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforce.com

2021-08-24

Semiannual TV Shipment Undergoes 10% YoY Growth to Reach Five-Year High of 98.45 Million Units for 1H21, Says TrendForce

As TV demand increased in North America in 1H21 following the distribution of stimulus packages, TV brands continued to replenish their component inventories during this time, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Notably, brands adopted a rolling schedule for their TV shipment because their manufacturing operations for TV sets were disrupted by a shortage of panels in 2Q21. TV shipment for 1H21 reached 98.45 million units, a 10% YoY increase.

Although supply issues related TV components have become gradually alleviated in 3Q21, TrendForce believes that retail prices of TV sets in 2H21 are unlikely to reach the rock bottom levels previously seen in 1H21 because the massive price hike of TV panels in 1H21 had led to a surge in TV manufacturing costs. In addition, as the market anticipates the possibility of an overall downturn in demand despite the arrival of the traditional peak season, TrendForce has once again revised its forecast of annual TV shipment for 2021 down to 215 million units, a 0.9% YoY decrease.

Chinese and Korean TV brands were major contributors to the growth of TV shipment for 1H21 while shipment of ultra large-sized TVs remained robust

TrendForce’s findings show that, although TV shipment for 1H21 fell short of prior forecasts by 5.8%, shipment from the two largest brands SEC (Samsung Electronics Co) and LGE (LG Electronics) comprised more than 20% of total large-sized TV shipment for the first time, thereby propelling their TV shipments for 1H21 above 20.7 million units for SEC and 14.01 million units for LGE. In particular, SEC’s large-sized (65-inch and above) TV shipment underwent a staggering 25% YoY increase for 1H21. Hence, the two brands’ strategy to eschew profit loss from the surge in panel prices by upgrading their product specs and increasing the shipment of larger-sized products proved to be relatively successful.

Despite nonstop issues with the supply of components required for TV set manufacturing in 1H21, TCL and Hisense were able to lower the manufacturing costs of their TV sets by increasing their shipments and adjusting their product mixes. For 1H21, TCL and Hisense increased their TV shipments by 11.5% and 9.5% YoY to 11.05 million units and 8.94 million units, respectively, with both companies setting records in terms of shipment volumes. In particular, 55-inch (and above) TVs accounted for 36.5% and 40.2%, of the 1H21 TV shipment from TCL and Hisense, respectively, meaning they shipped more large-sized TVs in 2021 than in any previous year. Xiaomi, the only brand among the top five to record a YoY drop in its TV shipment, saw its shipment reach 5.52 million units, a 6.6% YoY decline, despite occupying a larger share of TV shipment in China compared to TCL or Hisense. While Xiaomi struggled with rising manufacturing costs due to the persistent price hike of TV panels, Xiaomi’s decline can primarily be attributed to the fact that it failed to attract consumers despite multiple promotional price cuts in 1H21.

Persistently high prices of TV panels as well as lengthened shipping times in Europe and North America will likely hinder TV sales in 2H21 despite the arrival of the traditional peak season

Issues with TV panel supply are expected to gradually become resolved in 2H21. However, TV brands still need to address ongoing challenges with high panel costs as well as lowered TV demand in Europe and the US now that pandemic-related restrictions are being lifted. From June 2020 to July 2021, prices of 32-inch panels rose by 167%, though retail prices of 32-inch TV sets rose by a mere 30-35%. Similarly, prices of 55-inch panels rose by 120% while retail prices of 55-inch entry-level and mid-range TV sets rose by only 20-25%, with high-end TVs even experiencing a price drop. In other words, promotional price cuts taking place during peak season sales this year are unlikely to be remarkable and result in noticeable sales performances.

Although third quarters have traditionally marked the start of the peak sales season and hence a period of component procurement for TV brands, retail availability of end-products, such as TV sets, was delayed by three to four weeks this year due to port congestions taking place across the globe, which indirectly led to a decline in TV brands’ procurement activities for Europe and North America. Peak season sales, in turn, will likely be relatively muted this year in view of an increase in TV manufacturing costs and lengthened shipping times. Therefore, TrendForce expects TV shipment for 2H21 to reach 117 million units, an 8.5% YoY decrease.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms. Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforce.com

(Cover image source: Unsplash)

2021-06-30

QLED/OLED TV Shipment Projected to Break Records This Year Thanks to Brands’ Focus on Large-Sized, Mid- to High-End TVs Says TrendForce


Continued price hikes of TV panels, as well as a simultaneous shortage and price hike of semiconductor components required for manufacturing TV sets have forced TV brands in 2021 to reduce the shipment of their mid- and small-sized TVs in favor of the more profitable large-sized, mid- to high-end TVs instead, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. This shift is expected to propel the annual shipment of QLED TV for 2021 to 11.02 million units, a 22.4% YoY increase. On the other hand, OLED TV shipment for 2021 is expected to reach 7.1 million units, an 80% increase YoY. As such, both product categories are expected to break records in terms of shipment this year.

It should be pointed out that, as increased vaccinations in Europe and the US bring about an imminent easing of border restrictions, TV demand generated by the stay-at-home economy is likely to slow down. In addition, TV panel costs have remained sky-high and shown no signs of downward movement. Hence, TV brands are moving towards larger product sizes and better specifications in order to maximize profits and minimize the financial losses incurred by selling mid- and small-sized TVs, which have relatively low margins. Given the downscaling of these less profitable models, TV brands’ annual shipments will likely suffer a corresponding drop. TrendForce therefore expects total TV shipment this year to reach 220 million units, a 1.4% YoY increase.

Samsung’s Neo QLED series will help propel annual shipment of Mini LED backlight TV to three million units in 2021

There has been a sharp drop in the profitability of mid- to small-sized TVs this year. In response, during the replacement period between old and new models, market leader Samsung Electronics has not only lowered the retail prices of its QLED products to attract consumers, but also released its new Neo QLED lineup, which features Mini LED backlights and resolutions ranging from UHD to 8K. Samsung’s QLED TV shipment is expected to undergo a 17% YoY increase to 9.1 million units this year, the highest annual shipment in history. In particular, Samsung’s lineup includes about 1.5 million Mini LED backlight TVs, mostly with 65-inch and 55-inch displays, and these sizes account for 33% and 30% of the company’s total Mini LED backlight TV shipment, respectively, while the ultra-large, 75-inch model will account for 17%.

TCL, on the other hand, released a relatively affordable 75-inch Mini LED backlight TV in 2020, with a 65-inch model released this year. TCL’s annual shipment of Mini LED backlight TV for 2021 will likely reach 800,000 units. Apart from the aforementioned two brands, Xiaomi and LG are also eager to enter the Mini LED backlight TV market. As such, TrendForce forecasts a total annual Mini LED backlight TV shipment of three million units for 2021.

While brands expand their production lines for OLED TVs, LG and Sony are expected to seize nearly 80% of OLED market share

At the moment, OLED TVs have been attracting consumer attention in the high-end TV market primarily due to their excellent image quality through high color saturation and contrast. As LG Display installs additional OLED capacity via its Gen 8.5 production line in Guangzhou this year, there will likely be a corresponding increase in OLED TV supply as well as a diversification of OLED TV sizes. Also, annual OLED TV shipment is expected to break records once again this year, as brands are willing to expand their OLED TV product lineups because strategic reductions in OLED panel costs have now significantly narrowed the gap between the cost of OLED panels and that of equivalent LCD panels, thereby giving OLED panels a cost advantage that allows TV brands to reap increased profitability. With regards to TV brands, LG Electronics remains the industry leader in terms of OLED TV shipment this year with a market share of more than 50%, while Sony takes second place with a 20% market share. Other Japanese brands (Panasonic, Sharp, etc.) and Chinese brands (Skyworth, Hisense, Xiaomi, etc.) are likewise expected to experience shipment growths going forward.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms. Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforce.com

2021-04-28

Chinese Suppliers Take Top Three Spots in TV Panel Shipment Ranking, with Combined Shipment of More Than 50% of All Suppliers, Says TrendForce

As Samsung Display (SDC) decided to extend the manufacturing operations of its Korea-based Gen 8.5 LCD fab, and tier-two panel suppliers are still slow to reassign their production capacities from TV panels to IT panels, TrendForce expects total TV panel shipment for 2021 to reach 269 million units, which is relatively unchanged compared to 2020 levels. Panel suppliers will continue to focus on large-sized TV panels this year in response to several industry-wide developments, including M&A, reduced production capacities, improved manufacturing technologies, and increased panel demand. Furthermore, as the persistent price hike of TV panels continues to reduce the profit margins of TV sets, TV brands have started to gravitate towards larger, more profitable TV sizes. TrendForce therefore expects the average TV panel size this year to increase by 1.6 inches and move towards 50 inches.

TrendForce analyst Jeanette Chan indicates that the shift towards large-sized panels is an effective means of expending the production capacity of panel suppliers. Case in point, due to the limited production capacity for TV panels in 1H21, not only are TV panels currently in short supply, but TV panel prices are also on the rise. On the other hand, the demand for TV panels in 2H21 will depend on several key factors: first, whether the increased retail price of TV sets will hamper consumer demand; second, whether the pandemic will be effectively brought under control as more countries begin vaccinations; third, whether the impending global economic recovery will be a significant one. And finally, whether a market bubble will appear as a result of TV manufacturers’ overbooking panel orders in anticipation of potential hindrances including the price hike of materials in the upstream supply chain, the shortage of glass substrates due to such accidents as facility fires, the shortage of IC supply, and the extended shipping times.

Thanks to their persistently rising production capacity and successful acquisitions, China-based BOE and CSOT, the two largest panel suppliers in the world, are expected to collectively account for about 40% of total TV panel shipment this year. At the same time, BOE and CSOT are actively improving their technologies and making a push for high-end products, such as 8K, ZBD, and AM Mini LED. By leveraging their improved technologies and available funds, the two companies are likely to extend their operations upstream by systematically undertaking vertical integrations.

On the other hand, HKC, which is currently raising its production capacity, has garnered much attention in the market amidst the current shortage situation of TV panels. Along with its Changsha-based H5 fab, which is set to kick off mass production shortly, HKC possesses four Gen 8.6 fabs in total. By raising its production capacity and engaging in additional strategic partnerships with tier-one TV brands, HKC is expected to enter the top three ranking of panel suppliers by TV panel shipment for the first time ever, with a shipment of about 41.91 million units this year, a 33.7% increase YoY.

Taiwan-based AUO and Innolux are expected to experience YoY decreases in their shipments this year as their production capacities are relatively limited, although both companies’ efforts to optimize their products and engage in cross-industry partnerships have brought them certain competitive advantages. In particular, AUO is leading the panel industry in developing not only ultra-high-end products, such as 8K+ZBD, but also Micro LED displays, whereas Innolux holds competitive advantages in product diversity and in-house ODM services. It should be pointed out that these two Taiwanese companies are able to deal with the current IC shortage situation better than their competitors because their parent companies have longstanding business relationships with IC design companies.

With regards to Korean suppliers, although LGD and SDC have both prolonged their LCD manufacturing operations in Korea in order to satisfy the current bullish market demand, the two companies are primarily focusing on transitioning their offerings to new products. LGD will expand the OLED production capacity of its Guangzhou fab in 2Q21 as part of its effort to dominate the OLED market. As for SDC, the company has dropped out of the top six ranking this year as a result of its lowered production capacity. However, new TV sets featuring SDC’s QD-OLED panels are expected to officially hit the market in 4Q21, in turn driving SDC’s yearly TV panel shipment to 2 million units in 2022.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms. Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforce.com

2021-04-28

LG Set to Exit from Smartphone Business Following Years of Losses, with Lower than 1% Market Share Projected for 2021, Says TrendForce

TrendForce’s investigations finds that LG manufactured merely 30.6 million smartphones last year, which represented a 2.4% market share. The Korean company took ninth place in the global ranking of smartphone brands by production volume in 2020. At the start of this year, LG began to consider either selling or shuttering its mobile phone unit.

Around that same time, it also suspended the R&D of new smartphone models. On April 5, LG announced the decision to fold up the mobile phone unit as it was ultimately unable to offset consecutive years of financial losses it suffered in the smartphone market. Based on the company’s current plan, the mobile phone unit will wind down its operation by the end of July, while its smartphone manufacturing operations will cease by the end of 2Q21.

TrendForce therefore expects LG to occupy a lower than 1% share in the smartphone market this year. Incidentally, the conditions for survival for smartphone brands have further deteriorated on account of the increasingly fierce market competition as well as the recent and continuing hike in component prices. Taken altogether, these developments will reinforce the trend of the dominant brands having more and more market share in the future at the expense of the smaller brands.

Regarding LG’s performance in the smartphone market during the recent years, the company spared no effort in high-end R&D, with such results as the LG Wing with a rotating screen and the LG Rollable, which, as the name suggests, features a side-rolling display. The latter model remained a concept and did not enter mass production.

Despite its efforts, LG however continued to lag behind in sales when compared with the other major brands, such as Samsung and Apple. LG had a relatively weak position in the high-end segment of the smartphone market. As for the mid-range and entry-level segments, LG could not match Chinese brands in terms of pricing. To optimize its cost structure, LG expanded the share of device production going to ODMs. Nevertheless, this action was too late to turn things around.

Samsung, Lenovo, and Xiaomi are likely to benefit from LG’s exit from the North and Latin American markets

LG’s smartphone business has become unprofitable since 2Q15; and its financial losses were further exacerbated after it made a gradual exit from the Chinese market in 2016. As of 4Q20, LG’s smartphone business suffered 23 consecutive quarters of financial losses, which totaled about 5 trillion KRW. Despite LG’s limited market share, however, its exit from the various regional smartphone markets will still benefit its competitors in those markets, in particular, the mid-range segment in North America and Latin America.

With regards to North America, LG’s market share there will be split among its Android-based competitors, including Samsung, Lenovo (Motorola), and other in-house, private brands owned by domestic telecom operators. With regards to Latin America, on the other hand, LG’s exit will more noticeably benefit Lenovo (Motorola) and Xiaomi.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2021, as vaccinations begin to take place around the world, TrendForce expects the smartphone industry, which fulfills a basic living necessity, to make a gradual recovery as well. Thanks to the general public’s cyclical replacement demand, as well as growing demand from emerging markets, total smartphone production remains unaffected by LG’s exit. As a result, TrendForce maintains its smartphone production forecast of 1.36 billion units for 2021, a 9% increase YoY.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforce.com

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