According to research firm TrendForce, the smartphone market could return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022. The company is forecasting a 3.8 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth in smartphone shipment next year as “economic activities worldwide will mostly return to normal by then”. The total shipment volume is expected to reach 1.39 billion units. Almost half (47 percent or 660 million units) of these devices will be 5G-ready.
Samsung will continue to be the leading smartphone vendor globally with a market share of 20 percent. The firm expects the Korean company to ship 276 million smartphones next year. Foldables will play an integral role in its growth. However, Samsung’s losing the battle in the low-end segment and will find it difficult to retain market share in subsequent years.
Apple is expected to be the second-biggest smartphone company next year with an 18 percent market share and a shipment volume of 243 million units. Trendforce sees the 2022 iPhone SE model to give the company a much-needed boost in the mid-range segment. The iPhone 14 series later in the year will help Apple grow its market share globally.
Emerging Chinese company Xiaomi will once again be the fastest-growing smartphone maker in 2022. A strong, 15.8 percent YoY growth in shipment means it will sell around 220 million devices globally next year, propelling its market share to 16 percent.
Oppo and Vivo will expectedly make up the top five smartphone vendors globally next year. Since the former now also encompasses OnePlus, it sits much closer to Xiaomi. Trendforce expects Oppo to capture 15 percent of the global market in 2022. Vivo phones will account for 11 percent of the overall shipment volume.
The smartphone industry is battling an unprecedented chip shortage
The past couple of years haven’t been the best for the smartphone industry. The global health crisis a.ffected sales for the better part of last year. While the market showed signs of recovery earlier this year, an unprecedented semiconductor chip shortage has crashed all hopes. All major research firms, including Counterpoint, Canalys, and IDC, are now estimating a slower growth in smartphone shipment this year than originally expected. Worse yet, this chip situation doesn’t seem to get better anytime soon. So the forecasts for 2022 aren’t overly bright either.
Nonetheless, since the smartphone market has just seen two consecutive years of slowdown, a return to the pre-pandemic levels wouldn’t be too bad for the industry. But we will have to wait and see how the current chip situation evolves over the next few months. The uncertainty around this issue has made it difficult to predict things much accurately. We wouldn’t be surprised if TrendForce adjusts its forecasts next year if things don’t change positively like Counterpoint did earlier this year. We will keep you posted.