Omdia and IDC: Samsung regains lead in global smartphone market

The global smartphone market climbed 28.1% year on year to reach total shipments of 351.1 million units in the first quarter of 2021, according to preliminary data from Informa owned Omdia. That gain consolidates the smartphone market’s recent recovery after it posted its first annual growth since Q3 2019 in the final quarter of 2020.  However, Omdia said 2021 is set to be a year of transition with Huawei’s role continuing to change, LG exiting the market and a severe semiconductor shortage affecting sales.

Samsung took over the top spot from Apple in the first 3 months of 2021, shipping 76.1 million units, up 29.2 percent year on year, to reach 22 percent of the market. The company was able to increase shipments by 22.8 percent from Q4 2020 thanks in part to an early update to the Galaxy S line as well as the launch of its latest range of devices in the A series.

Apple followed its blockbuster Q4 2020 with another significant year on year growth of 46.5% to reach 56.4 million units shipped in the quarter, equivalent to 16% of the market, followed in third place by Xiaomi with 14% after shipping 49.5 million units, up 78.3% year on year.

Two more Chinese smartphone brands – Oppo and Vivo – continue to battle for fourth and fifth place in the global rankings and remain tied on 11 percent of the market. Vivo shipped 38.2 million units, just above the 37.8 million units Oppo shipped in Q1.

Year on year, Vivo grew shipments by 95.9 percent and Oppo by 85.3 percent, as they overtook Huawei, which slipped out of the top 5 global smartphone OEM ranking after shipping 14.7 million units, some 70 percent less than in Q1 2020, not including the 3.6 million units shipped by its sub-brand Honor, which is now an independent entity.

Top 10 Shipments per manufacturer

Rank OEM 1Q21 4Q20 1Q20 QoQ YoY
Shipment (m) M/S Shipment (m) M/S Shipment (m) M/S
1 Samsung 76.1 22% 62.0 16% 58.9 21% 22.8% 29.2%
2 Apple 56.4 16% 84.5 22% 38.5 14% -33.3% 46.5%
3 Xiaomi 49.5 14% 47.2 12% 27.8 10% 4.9% 78.3%
4 vivo 38.2 11% 34.5 9% 19.5 7% 10.7% 95.9%
5 Oppo 37.8 11% 34.0 9% 20.4 7% 11.1% 85.3%
6 Huawei 14.7 4% 33.0 9% 49.0 18% -55.5% -70.0%
7 Motorola 12.6 4% 9.8 3% 5.5 2% 28.6% 128.1%
8 Realme 11.4 3% 14.3 4% 6.1 2% -20.3% 86.9%
9 Tecno 8.2 2% 7.7 2% 3.5 1% 6.5% 133.4%
10 LG 6.8 2% 8.4 2% 5.4 2% -18.9% 26.2%
Others 41.3 12% 46.4 12% 41.1 15% -11.0% 0.6%
Total 353.0 100% 381.8 100% 275.7 100% -7.5% 28.1%

Gerrit Schneemann, principal analyst at Omdia commented: “The smartphone market continues to show resiliency in the face of multiple challenges. The global component supply shortage is looming large over the market. On the other hand, two well-known smartphone brands will disappear from the global smartphone market this year, in Huawei and LG, opening the door for other brands to reach new markets and buyers.”

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Separately, International Data Corporation (IDC) said that the smartphone market accelerated in the first quarter of 2021 (1Q-2021) with 25.5% year-over-year shipment growth.

According to preliminary data from the (IDCWorldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped nearly 346 million devices during the quarter. The strong growth came from all regions with the greatest gains coming from China and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China). As the two largest regions globally, accounting for half of all global shipments, these regions experienced 30% and 28% year-over-year growth, respectively.

“The recovery is proceeding faster than we expected, clearly demonstrating a healthy appetite for smartphones globally. But amidst this phenomenal growth, we must remember that we are comparing against one of the worst quarters in smartphone history,1Q20, the start of the pandemic when the bulk of the supply chain was at a halt and China was in full lockdown,” said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “However, the growth is still very real; when compared to two years ago (1Q19), shipments are 11% higher. The growth is coming from years of repressed refresh cycles with a boost from 5G. But above all, it is a clear illustration of how smartphones are becoming an increasingly important element of our everyday life – a trend that is expected to continue as we head into a post-pandemic world with many consumers carrying forward the new smartphone use cases which emerged from the pandemic.”

As the smartphone market is recovering, a major shift is happening in the competitive landscape. Huawei is finally out of the Top 5 for the first time in many years, after suffering heavy declines under the increased weight of U.S. sanctions. Taking advantage of this are the Chinese vendors Xiaomi, OPPO, and vivo, which all grew share over last quarter landing them in 3rd, 4th, and 5th places globally during the quarter with 14.1%, 10.8%, and 10.1% share, respectively. All three vendors are increasing their focus in international markets where Huawei had grown its share in recent years. In the low- to mid-priced segment, it is these vendors that are gaining the most from Huawei’s decline, while most of the high-end share is going to Apple and Samsung. Samsung regained the top spot in 1Q21 with impressive shipments of 75.3 million and 21.8% share. The new S21 series did well for Samsung, mainly thanks to a successful pricing strategy shaving off $200 from last year’s flagship launch. Apple, with continued success of its iPhone 12 series, lost some share from their very strong holiday quarter but still shipped an impressive 55.2 million iPhones grabbing 16.0% share.

“While Huawei continues its decline in the smartphone market, we’ve also learned that LG is exiting the market altogether,” said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “Most of LG’s volume was in the Americas with North America accounting for over 50% of its volume and Latin America another 30%. Despite the vendor losing ground in recent years, they still had 9% of the North America market and 6% of Latin America. Their exit creates some immediate opportunity for other brands. With competition being more cutthroat than ever, especially at the low-end, it is safe to assume that 6-10 brands are eyeing this share opportunity.”

Top 5 Smartphone Companies, Worldwide Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q1 2021 (shipments in millions of units)
Company 1Q21 Shipment Volumes 1Q21 Market Share 1Q20 Shipment Volumes 1Q20 Market Share Year-Over-Year Change
1. Samsung 75.3 21.8% 58.4 21.2% 28.8%
2. Apple 55.2 16.0% 36.7 13.3% 50.4%
3. Xiaomi 48.6 14.1% 29.5 10.7% 64.8%
4. OPPO 37.5 10.8% 22.8 8.3% 64.5%
5. vivo 34.9 10.1% 24.8 9.0% 40.7%
Others 94.1 27.2% 103.0 37.4% -8.7%
Total 345.5 100.0% 275.2 100.0% 25.5%
Source: IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, April 28, 2021

Notes:

  • Data are preliminary and subject to change.
  • Company shipments are branded device shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.
  • The “Company” represents the current parent company (or holding company) for all brands owned and operated as a subsidiary.
  • Figures represent new shipments only and exclude refurbished units.

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Closing Comment:

“Globally, the top five vendors combined took a 76% market share in Q1 2021, up from 71% a year ago. Chip shortages and supply side constraints did not have a significant impact in Q1 among the top 5 brands,” said Linda Sui, senior director, Strategy Analytics. Samsung’s newly launched A series 4G and 5G phones, and the earlier launched Galaxy S21 series combined drove solid performance in the quarter. Xiaomi maintained strong momentum in both India and China, and the expansion in Europe, Latin America and Africa region also started to bear fruit.

Note: Strategy Analytics said the global smartphone shipments were 340 million units in Q1 2021, up over 24% (year-on-year) representing the highest growth since 2015. The smartphone market rebound was driven by the healthy demand of consumers with aging devices and a phenomenal 5G push from Chinese smartphone vendors.

References:

https://omdia.tech.informa.com/pr/2021-apr/global-smartphone-market-grows-28

https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS47646721

https://www.idc.com/tracker/showproductinfo.jsp?containerId=IDC_P8397

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210419005789/en/Strategy-Analytics-Global-Smartphone-Shipments-Surge-to-340-Million-units-Up-24-YoY-in-Q1-2021

Trendforce: Global Smartphone Market to Reach 1.36 Billion Units in 2021 as Samsung regains #1 position

Samsung Electronics Co. is expected to remain the world’s top smartphone producer this year, according to a report by according to market researcher TrendForce.  However, the company’s market share is likely to decrease as other brands will ramp up production with the recovery of mobile demand.

The top six smartphone brands ranked by production volume for 2020, in order, are Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo. The most glaring change from the previous year is Huawei’s market share.

Thanks to the Chinese government’s aggressive push for 5G commercialization in 2020, global 5G smartphone production for the year reached about 240 million units, a 19% penetration rate, with Chinese brands accounting for almost a 60% market share. While 5G will remain a major topic in the smartphone market this year, various countries will also resume their 5G infrastructure build-out, and mobile processor manufacturers will continue to release entry-level and mid-range 5G chips. As such, the penetration rate of 5G smartphones is expected to undergo a rapid increase to 37% in 2021, for a yearly production of about 500 million units.

Global smartphone production was projected to increase 9 percent on-year to 1.36 billion units in 2021.  Trendforce predicted that device replacement demand and growth in emerging markets will lead to gradual recovery of the smartphone market.

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TrendForce indicates that smartphone brands’ recent bullish outlook towards the 2021 market and their attempt to secure more semiconductor supplies by increasing their smartphone production targets can potentially lead these brands to overbook certain components at foundries. However, smartphone brands may adjust their component inventories from 2Q21 to 3Q21 and reduce their semiconductor procurement activities if actual sales performances fall short of expectations, or if component bottlenecks remain unresolved, leading to a widening inventory gap between bottlenecked and non-bottlenecked parts. Even so, TrendForce still forecasts an above-90% capacity utilization rate for foundries in 2021.

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References:

http://www.trendforce.com/presscenter/news/20210105-10630.html

Counterpoint Research: Mediatek is world’s #1 smartphone chipset vendor

Christmas day surprise!   Taiwanese fabless chipmaker Mediatek has overtaken Qualcomm and is now the #1 smartphone chipset vendor with a 31% market share in Q3 2020.  Mediatek was helped by its growth in regions like India and China, and a strong performance in the $150-200 price smartphone category, according to estimates from market research firm Counterpoint Technology Market Research.

In terms of market share, MediaTek led the chipset market at the first position, followed by Qualcomm (29%), HiSilicon (12%), Samsung (12%), Apple (12%), and UNISOC (4%) respectively.

Qualcomm was the biggest 5G chipset vendor in Q3 2020. Its silicon powered 39% of the 5G phones sold worldwide. The demand for 5G smartphones doubled in Q3 2020 – 17% of all smartphones sold in Q3 2020 were 5G. This impressive growth trajectory is going to continue, more so with Apple launching its 5G line-up. One-third of all smartphones shipped in Q4 2020 are expected to be 5G enabled. There is still a chance Qualcomm will regain the top position in Q4 2020.

Source:  Counterpoint Research

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MediaTek’s Research Director Dale Gai said:

“MediaTek’s strong market share gain in Q3 2020 happened due to three reasons – strong performance in the mid-end smartphone price segment ($100-$250) and emerging markets like LATAM and MEA, the U.S. ban on Huawei and finally wins in leading OEMs like Samsung, Xiaomi and Honor. The share of MediaTek chipsets in Xiaomi smartphones has increased by more than three times since the same period last year.’

“MediaTek was also able to leverage the gap created due to the U.S. ban on Huawei. Affordable MediaTek chips fabricated by TSMC became the first option for many OEMs to quickly fill the gap left by Huawei’s absence. Huawei had also previously purchased a significant amount of chipsets ahead of the ban.”

“On the other hand, Qualcomm also posted strong share gains (from a year ago) in the high-end segment in Q3 2020, again thanks to HiSilicon’s supply issues. However, Qualcomm faced competition from MediaTek in the mid-end segment. We believe both will continue to compete intensively through aggressive pricing, and mainstream 5G SoC products into 2021.”

Counterpoint Research Analyst Ankit Malhotra said:

“Qualcomm and MediaTek have both reshuffled their portfolios, and consumer focus has played a key role here. Last year, MediaTek launched a new gaming-based G-series, while Dimensity chipsets have helped in bringing 5G to affordable categories. The world’s cheapest 5G device, the realme V3, is powered by MediaTek.”

Commenting on the outlook for chipset vendors, Malhotra added, “The immediate focus of chipset vendors will be to bring 5G to the masses, which will then unlock the potential of consumer 5G use cases like cloud gaming, which in turn will lead to higher demand for higher clocked GPUs and more powerful processors. Qualcomm and MediaTek will continue to contend for the top position.”

Source: Counterpoint Research

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About Counterpoint Research:

Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in Technology products in the TMT industry. It services major technology firms and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analysis of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are experts in the industry with an average tenure of 13 years in the high-tech industry.

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Separately, MediaTek 5G silicon will be used in future notebook PCs with Intel inside. 

MediaTek’s T700 5G modem, which will be used to bring 5G connectivity to Intel-powered PCs, completed 5G standalone (SA) calls in real world test scenarios. Additionally, Intel has progressed on system integration, validation and developing platform optimizations for a superior user experience and is readying co-engineering support for its OEM partners. MediaTek and Intel are both committed to delivering a superior user experience.

“Our partnership with Intel is a natural extension of our growing 5G mobile business, and is an incredible market opportunity for MediaTek to move into the PC market,” said MediaTek President Joe Chen. “With Intel’s deep expertise in the PC space and our groundbreaking 5G modem technology, we will redefine the laptop experience and bring consumers the best 5G experiences.”

“A successful partnership is measured by execution, and we’re excited to see the rapid progress we are making with MediaTek on our 5G modem solution with customer sampling starting later this quarter. Building on our 4G/LTE leadership in PCs, 5G is poised to further transform the way we connect, compute and communicate. Intel is committed to enhancing those capabilities on the world’s best PCs,” said Chris Walker, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Mobile Client Platforms.

https://corp.mediatek.com/news-events/press-releases/mediatek-and-intel-advance-partnership-to-bring-5g-to-next-generation-of-pcs

References:

MediaTek Becomes Biggest Smartphone Chipset Vendor for First Time in Q3 2020

 

Counterpoint Research: Smartphone Market Decline Ends, What Might Help it Grow?

The global smartphone market showed signs of recovery ending a long period of continuous quarterly YoY declines. Shipments during 3Q 2019 were flat at 380 million units. The two markets that helped halt the slide are India, which has been growing steadily, and China, now showing a slower decline.

Both countries saw healthy channel builds, in India, OEMs prepared early for Diwali and online sales. In China, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo enjoyed healthy demand ahead of the National Day Golden Week holiday in October. The upcoming holiday season should drive smartphone demand into growth for the second half of the year.

Highlights:

  • Samsung continued its growth thanks to strong sales of the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy A series. The improved product-mix helped it post better profits.
  • Huawei grew a healthy 28.5% YoY globally. It captured a record 40% market share in China. It rebounded in Europe after the decline mid-year caused by the US trade ban. As it continues its aggressive push, there’s an increased need for careful inventory management in China and Europe in Q4 2019.
  • Apple iPhone shipments were down 4% YoY. However, initial uptake for the iPhone 11 series was robust. In the US, pre-orders and the first week of sales, saw more demand for the iPhone 11 Pro Max and iPhone 11 Pro, but the standard iPhone 11 rose quickly into the best-seller’s list.
  • Apple’s price corrections in China and elsewhere with iPhone 11 and iPhone XR stimulated demand during the last week of September.
  • Realme was the fastest-growing brand for the second successive quarter, capturing 7th place globally. Strong performances in India and Indonesia drove its growth.

Counterpoint believes the key OEMs with the largest installed bases, especially in developed regions, will rely on 5G as a key point of differentiation and will encourage their users to upgrade.  Already, 5G rollouts have been faster than 4G was in its first few months, with 15 commercially available 5G devices and many more lined-up for launch in the last few months of 2019. Nevertheless, 5G smartphones only accounted for 2% of shipments in Q3 2019 and will contribute relatively little to the overall market for the full year 2019. But, 2020 will likely be a breakout year for 5G smartphone adoption,rekindling smartphone demand.

Note: This author completely disagrees with that last conclusion.  We don’t think 5G smartphone adoption will achieve any real market traction till late 2021-early 2022.

Analyst Contacts:

Neil Shah | Peter Richardson

SOURCE Counterpoint Research

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Looking at the current scenario, Xiaomi, famous for its commitment to affordability, launched the cheapest 5G model in China at the end of September. The new flagship of Xiaomi’s number series, MI 9 Pro 5G, has a starting price of roughly US$520.

Exhibit 1: 5G enabled new models in 2019

5G Enabled New Models in 2019

According to the analysis of the 5G cost structure, we expect an addition of US$50 to implement the sub-6Ghz only by using a standalone 5G modem.

However, costs can be reduced through the integration of a modem with the SoC (System on a Chip). Huawei’s Kirin 990 and Samsung’s Exynos 980 had taken a step ahead in this direction, and Qualcomm is expected to launch its first 5G SoC in the Snapdragon 700 family by the end of 2019. Besides, both Qualcomm, MediaTek plans to mass-produce respective 5G flagship platform SDM865, MTK6885, in Q1 2020.

Exhibit 2: 5G platform timeline in 2019 & 2020

5G Platform Timeline in 2019 & 2020Given the fragmented frequency allocation, we expect smartphone brands targeting North America and parts of European markets will customize designs with an external 5G model for mmWave, even though, most 5G models will resort to a 5G SoC for a cheaper sub-6Ghz only solution.

To sum up, we believe that 5G smartphones will be available in the mid-end price bands over the course of 2020. As a result, cheaper solutions for a next-generation offering will unlock consumer demand for upgrades of their smartphones.