28 January 2022
Smartphone shipment recovery to continue in 2022, growing 4% to 1.386 billion units
Since reaching a peak of 1.457 billion units in 2017, it has been difficult for smartphones to significantly increase their penetration rate, notes market research firm TrendForce. In addition, mobile phone hardware updates have slowed, which has lengthened the consumer replacement cycle. Together with the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 gradually got back on track in 2021, with shipments reaching 1.333 billion units, or 6.4% growth year-on-year. This upward trend is expected to continue in 2022, with shipments expected to reach 1.386 billion, or 4% growth year-on-year.
However, 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, TrendForce stresses. The current problem of material shortages has yet to be alleviated, and RF chips, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display driver integrated circuits (DDICs) and power management integrated circuits (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, reckons TrendForce. 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. Currently, China is the most active country in promoting 5G models, which comprise more than 80% of shipments. So, the key to increasing the global penetration rate of 5G mobile phones in the future is focusing on regions outside China.
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, notes TrendForce.