China-based smartphone suppliers held 8 of Top 12 spots in first quarter ranking

IC Insights has just released the Update to its 2016 IC Market Drivers Report that examines and evaluates key existing and emerging end-use applications that will support and propel the IC industry through 2019.

In 2015 and early 2016, there were numerous reports of slowing in the Chinese smartphone market. Since most of the Chinese smartphone producer’s sales are to Chinese customers, this slowdown became evident in some of their 2015 and 1Q16 smartphone sales figures.  For example, China-based Coolpad’s smartphone sales dropped by 44% in 2015 to only 25.5 million units.  Moreover, Xiaomi, a real “high-flyer” in smartphone sales in 2013 and 2014 saw its growth slow to 16% last year.  While a 16% growth rate is still very commendable, its sales of about 71 million smartphones last year was well below the company’s earlier stated goal of shipping 100 million smartphones in 2015.

Figure 1 depicts actual 1Q16 smartphone unit sales by the top 12 companies with a forecast for their full-year 2016 unit volume shipments.  As shown, eight of the top 12 companies are headquartered in China with an Indian company (Micromax) making the list for the first time.   Gionee, a China-based smartphone supplier, just missed making the 1Q16 top 12 ranking after shipping 4.8 million handsets in the quarter.

IC Insights believes that there will be very little middle ground with regard to smartphone shipment growth rates among the top 12 suppliers this year.  As shown, seven of the top twelve companies are forecast to register 2016 growth rates of 6% or less while the other five companies are expected to each log 29% or better increases.  Further illustrating the maturing of the smartphone market, the top two suppliers, Samsung and Apple, are each forecast to show a slight decline in smartphone shipments this year.

Three companies are expected to drop out of the top 12 ranking this year as compared to 2015—Japan-based Sony, U.S.-based Microsoft, and China-based Coolpad.  These three companies saw their 1Q16 sales of smartphones drop to 3.4, 2.3, and 4.0 million, respectively.  Although Microsoft announced it intends to sell its non-smartphone business later this year, its early 2016 Lumia smartphones shipments put it on a path to sell less than 15 million units in 2016.

chinese ic suppliers fig 1

Figure 1

Additional details on the cellphone IC market are included in the 2016 Update of IC Insights’ IC Market Drivers—A Study of Emerging and Major End-Use Applications Fueling Demand for Integrated Circuits. This report examines the largest, existing system opportunities for ICs and evaluates the potential for new applications that are expected to help fuel the market for ICs through the end of this decade.

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