According to TrendForce research, since reaching a peak of 1.457 billion units in 2017, it has been difficult for smartphones to significantly increase their penetration rate. In addition, mobile phone hardware updates have slowed which has lengthened the consumer replacement cycle. Add to this the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and growth in overall smartphone shipment volume has become increasingly difficult to achieve. However, based on the premise that the pandemic is slowing down, coupled with the strategy of certain brands actively exploring emerging markets, growth momentum in the global smartphone market has gradually gotten back on track in 2021, with shipments reaching 1.333 billion units, or 6.4% growth YoY. This upward trend is expected to continue in 2022, with shipments expected to reach 1.386 billion, or 4% growth YoY.
TrendForce emphasizes, it should be noted that the status of the pandemic is still the biggest concern affecting the smartphone market this year and this applies doubly to the production capacity of semiconductors. The current problem of material shortages has yet to be alleviated and RF chips, OLED DDICs, and PMICs continue to be in short supply. In addition, issues such as China’s rolling blackouts, spiking shipping costs, and rising chip costs, will cause smartphone brands to face price pressures and it remains to be seen whether higher prices will be acceptable to consumers.
Judging from the 2022 brand market share forecast, Samsung will remain number one followed by Apple, Xiaomi, OPPO, VIVO, and Transsion. Among these companies, Xiaomi is the brand with the fastest-growing annual shipment growth rate. In addition to stimulating sales in the Chinese market through the strategy of expanding brick and mortar stores, Xiaomi’s sales occur mostly overseas, and it is first in market share in India and Russia. In the future, it will continue to explore the Middle East, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa markets.
Four keys to mobile phone trends in 2022
Folding phones, 5G, self-developed chips, and a reduction in the number of rear-facing cameras are the four keys to focus on this year. In terms of 5G mobile phones, the global penetration rate in 2021 was 37%, this is expected to rise to 47% in 2022, and may exceed 50% by 2023. At present, China is the most active country in promoting 5G models. More than 80% of the country’s shipments are 5G mobile phones. Therefore, the key to increasing the global penetration rate of 5G mobile phones in the future is focusing on regions outside China.
Regarding self-developed chips, in the past, only Samsung, Apple, and Huawei were capable of self-developing chips. However, Google launched its self-developed Tensor processor in 2021, and Xiaomi, OPPO, and VIVO have each launched professional imaging chips in succession.
In recent years, the biggest trend of smartphone camera modules is the increasing number of rear camera modules, according to TrendForce’s investigations. According to TrendForce research, triple camera modules surpassed dual camera modules to become mainstream in 2020 and drove the continued growth of smartphone camera module shipments. Annual smartphone camera module shipments in 2022 are expected to reach 4.92 billion units, or 2% growth YoY.
However, the trend towards multiple cameras started to shift in 2H21 after a few years of positive growth. The previous spike in the penetration rate of four camera modules was primarily incited by mid-range smart phone models in 2H20 when mobile phone brands sought to market their products through promoting more and more cameras. However, as consumers realized that the macro and depth camera usually featured on the third and fourth cameras were used less frequently and improvements in overall photo quality limited, the demand for four camera modules gradually subsided and mobile phone brands returned to fulfilling the actual needs of consumers. In addition, increases in the pricing of semiconductor chips such as PMICs and Driver ICs, as well as increased shipping costs, have driven the cost of mobile phones up sharply. Without the ability to effectively pass this cost onto consumers, any remaining allowance to economically install low-end cameras has been effectively eliminated.
Camera resolution upgrades: fastest growing market share encompasses 49-64 million pixel cameras
Although camera shipment growth has slowed, camera resolution continues to improve. Taking primary cameras as an example, the current mainstream design is 13-48 million pixels, accounting for more than 50% of cameras in 2021. In second place are products featuring 49-64 million pixels which accounted for more than 20% of cameras last year with penetration rate expected to increase to 23% in 2022. The third highest portion is 12 million pixel products, currently dominated by the iPhone and Samsung’s flagship series. However, a 48 million pixel primary camera is expected to be introduced to the iPhone 14 Pro series (tentative name) that Apple will release this year, further reducing 12 million pixel products to a 15% share in 2022.
In addition to the original Samsung and Xiaomi brands employing 108 million pixels cameras, Vivo and Honor also introduced similar resolution cameras in 2021. There is a chance 200 million pixel products will be ready for commercial use in 2022, driving the penetration rate of ultra-high pixel products to an expected level in excess of 5% in 2022. However, such ultra-high pixel products primarily focus on enlarging photographs without losing image quality. Therefore, TrendForce believes that any marginal benefits these products bring to consumers will gradually decrease and the penetration rate will not grow as quickly as 49-64 million pixels products.
Overall, TrendForce believes that the number of camera modules mounted on smartphones will no longer be the main focus of mobile phone brands, as focus will return to the real needs of consumers. Therefore, triple camera modules will remain the mainstream design for the next 2~3 years.
The smartphone market is showing an improvement in demand during the second half of this year due to the peak season for e-commerce promotional activities and the easing of COVID-19 outbreaks in regions such as Southeast Asia, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. However, there have been significant shortages of components including 4G SoCs, low-end 5G SoCs, display panel driver ICs, etc. The persistent component gaps are constraining smartphone brands from raising device production for the second half of the year. Looking at 3Q21, the quarterly total smartphone production came to around 325 million units, a 5.7% QoQ increase. Even so, not only does the QoQ increase in smartphone production for 3Q21 fall short of the QoQ increase for the same quarter last year, but the quarterly production volume for 3Q21 also shows a weaker performance result when compared with figures from 3Q20 or from 3Q19, prior to the emergence of the pandemic.
As for the total production for the whole 2021, TrendForce has lowered the projection to 1.335 billion units with a YoY growth rate of 6.5%. The previous projection was 1.345 billion units with a YoY growth rate of 7.3%. This downward correction mainly reflects the impact of the component gaps on device production. Going forward, an important point of observation in the smartphone market is whether the pandemic will further weaken demand. Also, the other significant variables that will influence future smartphone demand include geopolitical tensions, distribution of production capacity in the foundry market, and global inflationary pressure.
While smartphone production for 3Q21 reached about 325 million units, the release of new models helped Apple retake second place in the global ranking
Samsung raised its smartphone production by 17.9% QoQ to 69 million units for 3Q21. The growth was mainly attributed to the stabilization of the capacity utilization rates of its device assembly plants in Vietnam. Samsung continued to top the global ranking of smartphone brands with the largest market share in production terms. Apple released four new iPhone models under the iPhone 13 series in 3Q21. Thanks to their contribution, the total iPhone production for 3Q21 registered a QoQ increase of 22.6% to 51.5 million units. With this result, Apple was also able to climb to second place in the global ranking. In terms of product development, Apple is staying with the plan to release its third-generation iPhone SE in 1Q22 and four models under a new series in 2H22. The third-generation iPhone SE is expected to be a major instrument in helping Apple establish a presence in the market segment for mid-range 5G smartphones. Its production volume for 2022 is forecasted to reach 25-30 million units.
OPPO marginally raised its smartphone production by 3% QoQ to 51 million units for 3Q21, thereby capturing third place in the ranking. Xiaomi held fourth place as its smartphone production for the same quarter fell by 10% QoQ to 44.5 million units. Vivo’s smartphone production for 3Q21 was relatively constant compared with the previous quarter, coming to around 34 million units. With this result, Vivo was ranked fifth. The production figures of these three Chinese brands include devices under their respective sub-brands (i.e., OPPO’s Realme and OnePlus; Xiaomi’s Redmi, POCO, and Black Shark; and Vivo’s iQoo). Looking at the three brands’ production performances in 3Q21, TrendForce notes that there is a high degree of overlap in terms of target market as well as a high degree of similarity in offerings. Hence, their production performances directly hinge on their ability to acquire enough of the components that are now in short supply.
Honor will expand into the overseas markets next year as part of its plan for a comeback
After spending the first half of this year stocking up on components and undergoing business restructuring, Honor is now on a more solid footing and will attain an annual smartphone production of 43.5 million units. In the global ranking of smartphone brands by annual production for 2021, Honor is expected to take eighth place. Also, Honor as an independent brand has obtained access to Google Mobile Services. Therefore, it plans to expand to other markets outside China next year and leverage the sales expertise that it has acquired from Huawei in order gain a bigger share of the overseas markets. Regarding Honor’s sales strategy as a whole, the main focus is still on the domestic market. As for the overseas markets, Honor will continue Huawei’s strategy and avoid India where competition revolves around low pricing. Instead, Honor will attempt to establish itself in regions such as Russia, the wider Europe, and South America. In general, Honor’s rise will likely affect the market shares of the other aforementioned brands. How much market share Honor will gain depends on its ability to have sufficient inventory of components that are now in short supply.
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Quarterly TV shipment for 3Q21 reached 52.51 million units, representing an 8.3% QoQ increase but a 14.7% YoY decrease, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Demand for TVs was constrained during the quarter by the increase in various country’s vaccination rates as well as the rising retail prices of TV sets, resulting in a YoY shipment decline despite the arrival of the peak season. It should be noted that prices of TV panels began to plummet in August, and this price drop enabled Chinese TV brands to both expand sales during the Singles’ Day (November 11) shopping festival and in turn make up for deficits in their yearly sales targets. Global brands, on the other hand, will be unable to capitalize on the price drop of TV panels by reflecting this cost-savings on their TV sets’ retail prices until 1Q22 due to factors such as production, transportation, and inventory adjustments. These brands are therefore having a difficult time increasing their TV shipment for 4Q21. Quarterly TV shipment for 4Q21 is expected to reach 59.13 million units, representing a 12.6% QoQ increase but an 10.3% YoY decrease. TV shipment for 2H21 will therefore likely be among the lowest compared to shipment volumes for second halves of previous years historically.
TrendForce further indicates that TV manufacturers’ shipment performances have been weakening this year as the market approaches the year’s end. Stimulus checks issued in the US resulted in persistently high TV shipment in North America in 1H21, with brands maintaining their procurement of TV panels, thereby driving up the prices of TV panels as a result. As the COVID-19 pandemic is gradually brought under control, and everyday life returns to normalcy in Europe and North America in 2H21, the pandemic-generated upswing in TV sales subsequently lost momentum. Furthermore, while prices of raw materials and transportation/logistics services remained sky-high, manufacturing costs of whole TV sets also underwent a sharp climb and were then transferred to consumers. Taken together, these factors quickly wiped out market demand for TVs. TrendForce therefore expects annual TV shipment for 2021 to reach 210 million units, a 3.2% YoY decline.
With a forecasted annual shipment of 6.8 million units for 2021, OLED TVs have become favored by various brands amidst rising manufacturing costs of TV sets
TV brands face various manufacturing-related challenges this year. Not only have panel costs, which account for the largest share of TV sets’ manufacturing costs, undergone an increase, but port congestions have also led to rising shipping costs and an extended lead time before TV sets can be delivered for retail sale. In addition to an uneven availability of various components, these aforementioned obstacles all exacerbate the risks involved with TV brands’ shipment. In a bid to maximize profits, however, brands have been making a concentrated effort to ensure that the production of OLED TVs remained free from disruptions in an effort to maximize profits.
As brands shift the focus of their sales efforts to OLED TVs, OLED TV shipment for 2021 is expected to reach 6.8 million units, a 72.8% YoY increase. This growth can primarily be attributed to an increase in OLED TV supply due to the expanded production capacity of LGD’s production line in Guangzhou, as well as the narrowing difference between LCD panel prices and OLED panel prices due to the sharp rise in the former in 1H21. In particular, LGE is set to take leadership position with an over 60% market share and a 91% YoY growth in its OLED TV shipment. Trailing behind in second place is Sony, which has been sourcing OLED panels from LGD. The Japanese company is expected to register a 53% YoY increase in shipment and possess a 20% market share. Panasonic, on the other hand, comfortably took third place with a 7% market share. Notably, Xiaomi and Sharp are the two dark horses with regards to OLED TV shipment this year with explosive YoY growths of 900% and 140%, respectively.
Major brands will concentrate on the high-end and large-sized segments, while smaller brands will continue to steadily develop mainstream products
While demand in the TV market recovers as the pandemic runs its course, TrendForce expects 45% and 55% of the total annual TV shipment for 2022 to take place in 1H22 and 2H22, respectively. TV shipment for 2022 will likely reach 217 million units, a 3.3% YoY increase, as brands are able to aggressively ramp up their TV shipments thanks to not only an undisrupted supply of panels, but also gradually stabilizing prices. For major brands, their focus will be on medium-sized and large-sized products and on products with substantial added values. Hence, the market share of large-sized TVs (including 65-inch and above models) will for the first time ever surpass 20%, with medium-sized (40-inch to 59-inch models) TVs remaining at a 55% market share. Although major brands are gradually exiting the small-sized segment, and smaller brands will have an easier time expanding their presence in emerging markets owing to gradually stabilizing prices, small-sized (39-inch and below models) TVs will see their market share drop by 1.8% next year to 25%. In any case, the primary target markets for major brands and smaller brands will not overlap next year.
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Smartphones are essential to people’s daily lives and constitute a basic necessity. TrendForce therefore expects the smartphone industry to rebound and post marginal growth next year, assuming that economic activities worldwide will mostly return to normal by then. The main trend drivers in the smartphone market next year are still going to be the usual device replacement cycle and the additional demand from emerging markets. TrendForce expects annual smartphone production for 2022 to reach about 1.39 billion units and the YoY growth rate hitting 3.8%.
Expanding market share will be very challenging for smartphone brands due to fierce competition
Samsung’s smartphone production for 2022 is expected to reach 276 million units, a 1.1% YoY growth. The company continues to reorganize and extend its product series. The integration of the Galaxy Note series with the Foldable series, the continuation of the S-Pen, etc. are some of the moves that Samsung has taken to maintain its market share in the high-end segment. Moreover, Samsung has increased the outsourcing portion of its device manufacturing in order to make its mid-range and low-end models more cost competitive. However, advances in device design and manufacturing will only intensify the competition in developed markets. In the emerging markets, demand will continue to concentrate on entry-level models. Hence, Samsung will have increasing difficulty in growing its market share as most of its offering do not target the demand for entry-level products. This also means that retaining market share will become more challenging for the brand.
Apple is set to release the latest model in its iPhone SE lineup (i.e., the third-generation SE), featuring a 4.7-inch display, A15 SoC, and 5G support, by the end of 1Q22. Other than these features, the rest of the new SE’s hardware specifications will be similar to those of the second-gen SE. In this regard, the new SE can be seen as an invaluable asset with which Apple attempts to enter the mid-range 5G smartphone segment. In 2H22, the company will keep to its tradition of announcing four new models, two of which will feature a 6.1-inch display, while the other two will feature a 6.7-inch display. Although the release of these five new handsets will likely help Apple increase its market share next year, this increase will be constrained by the fact that Apple will have to raise the retail price of its smartphones in order to keep up with rising component prices and ensure some profitability. TrendForce therefore expects Apple’s smartphone production for 2022 to reach 243 million units, representing a 5.4% YoY growth and the second highest volume among all smartphone brands.
Given that demand will unlikely increase by a significant margin in the domestic Chinese smartphone market next year, the three major Chinese brands, including OPPO, Xiaomi, and Vivo, will primarily depend on overseas sales for their smartphone market share growths. It should be pointed out that TrendForce’s calculation of Xiaomi’s production volume also includes handsets released by the brand’s subsidiaries Mi, Redmi, POCO, and Black Shark. Thanks to Xiaomi’s relatively early expansion in the overseas markets, as the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is gradually brought under control, Xiaomi is expected to benefit the growth of its overseas sales and register a smartphone production of 220 million units, representing a 15.8% YoY growth and the third highest volume among all brands.
Fourth-ranked OPPO sells its smartphones globally under three brands: OPPO, Realme, and OnePlus. TrendForce expects OPPO group’s annual smartphone production for 2022 to reach 208 million units, a 2.5% YoY growth. Regarding product planning, OPPO is relatively similar compared with Xiaomi, as both of these brands differentiate between various markets and client bases through subsidiaries. Likewise, OPPO has in recent years actively expanded its peripheral ecosystem businesses, such as software services and additional consumer items, in order to improve its profitability for the year. Finally, Vivo will take the fifth rank next year by producing almost 150 million handsets, a 6.4% YoY growth. This brand depends heavily on its customers’ cyclical replacement demand for its sales. Therefore, while the Chinese smartphone market, which is Vivo’s primary sales region, becomes increasingly saturated, the brand’s room for growth next year will also be relatively limited. In addition, as HONOR will also aggressively look to capture market shares in China, the production volumes of OPPO and Vivo will be further constrained next year.
Annual 5G smartphone production for 2022 is expected to reach about 660 million units despite slowing growth rate
Thanks to the Chinese government’s active push for 5G commercialization for the past two years, the global market share of 5G smartphones will likely hit 37.4% in 2021, with about 500 million units produced throughout the year. Going forward, now that the market share of 5G smartphones has surpassed 80% in China, the smartphone industry will shift its focus of 5G development to other regional markets. However, because countries vary in the progress of 5G infrastructure build-out, and 5G service plan fees are higher than 4G fees, the growth of 5G market share now appears to be slowing. As such, TrendForce expects 5G smartphone production for 2022 to reach about 660 million units, translating to a market share of 47.5% for 5G handsets in the overall smartphone market.
On the other hand, the growing market share of 5G smartphones also generates a corresponding growing demand for components. Given the increased shipment in servers, IoT devices, and EVs, foundries will find it even harder to manufacture enough components for 5G handsets since foundry capacities are already stretched to their limits. What this also means is that the market share of smartphone brands will depend on how successful they are in booking foundry capacities. Smartphone brands’ scramble for foundry capacities, however, may in turn result in overbookings or uneven allocation of capacities to components, thereby further exacerbating the mismatched availability of smartphone components. Hence, if the actual demand from smartphone buyers falls short of expectations, TrendForce believes that smartphone brands may be forced to adjust their inventories once again in 2H22.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org