For the first time since 2016, the global smartphone applications processor (AP) market returned to revenue growth in 2020, according to Strategy Analytics’ Handset Component Technologies (HCT) service report.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the global smartphone AP market showed resiliency and grew 25 percent year-on-year to $25 billion in 2020. Strategy Analytics’ research report “Smartphone Apps Processor Market Share Tracker Q4 2020: 5G and 5 nm APs Drive Growth” estimates that Qualcomm, Apple, HiSilicon, MediaTek and Samsung LSI grabbed the top-five revenue share rankings in the highly dynamic global smartphone applications processor (AP) market in 2020.
- Qualcomm maintained its lead in the smartphone AP market with a 31 percent revenue share, followed by Apple with 23 percent and HiSilicon with 18 percent.
- 5G AP shipments surged in 2020 and accounted for over one-quarter of total smartphone AP shipments in 2020.
- TSMC led the smartphone AP foundry market with over two-thirds of the market share in 2020, followed by Samsung Foundry. Both foundries saw strong demand for 7 nm and 5 nm APs.
- 7 nm and 5 nm APs gained significant traction and accounted for almost 40 percent of all smartphone APs shipped in 2020.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to be a key part of smartphone AP vendors’ strategy and shipments of smartphone APs with on-device AI engines reached crossed 900 million in 2020.
Sravan Kundojjala, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, commented, “Notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, trade war and shortages, the smartphone AP market posted all-time high revenue in 2020. Increased shipments of higher-priced 5G and 5 nm AP shipments contributed to this growth. Strategy Analytics believes that on-going semiconductor shortages point to strong underlying demand. However, an increased mix of mid-range and low-end 5G APs from Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung LSI and Unisoc will inevitably pressure smartphone AP average selling prices (ASP) in 2021. AP Vendors need to adjust their cost structures to continue to benefit from the 5G wave.”
Stephen Entwistle, Vice President of the Strategy Analytics Strategic Technologies Practice, added, “The US-China trade war affected HiSilicon in 2020. HiSilicon saw its smartphone AP shipments drop 20 percent in 2020. Strategy Analytics predicts that Apple, MediaTek, Qualcomm and Samsung LSI will capture the market share left by HiSilicon in 2021. We believe Qualcomm is well-situated to capture HiSilicon’s premium-tier share with its Snapdragon 888 and 870 offerings.”
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Service Name: Handset Component Technologies