TrendForce, a leading market research firm, has revealed a remarkable surge in global smartphone production during the third quarter of 2023.
Buoyed by reduced channel inventories and seasonal spikes in demand, the smartphone manufacturing sector witnessed a significant uptick, recording an impressive 13 percent quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) increase. This surge has ended an eight-quarter streak of annual declines, marking a promising turnaround for the industry.
The figures stood at approximately 308 million units, representing a 6.4 percent year-on-year (YoY) increase, though still below pre-pandemic levels. Looking ahead to the final quarter of the year, industry experts anticipate a continued upswing in production, estimating a further 5–10 percent QoQ increase. Factors contributing to this optimistic projection include e-commerce promotions, the customary year-end shopping boom, and heightened production activities by smartphone brands.
Despite the lingering impact of the pandemic, the forecasted downturn in global smartphone production for 2023 is expected to be limited to less than 3 percent, with an estimated annual output of around 1.16 billion units.
Market Dynamics: Huawei’s Return, Samsung’s Lead, and Apple’s Challenges
Samsung maintained its lead in the market, bolstered by an 11.5 percent increase in Q3 production, amounting to 60.1 million units. However, its conservative approach amid global economic uncertainties narrowed the annual production lead over its competitor Apple to a mere 5 million units.
Apple, despite a robust 17.9 percent increase in Q3 production (reaching approximately 49.5 million units), faced challenges due to initial low yield rates affecting the iPhone 15/15 Plus series. This setback resulted in a 1.5 percent YoY market share decline, with annual production expected to align with 2022 levels.
Huawei’s re-entry into the high-end smartphone market has significantly impacted the market dynamics, particularly in China, where it aims to directly challenge Apple in 2024. This strategic move, coupled with geopolitical factors, positions Huawei as a formidable competitor, likely to impact Apple’s production performance in the upcoming year.
Emerging Players and Shifting Rankings
Xiaomi showcased a robust 22.3 percent growth in Q3 production, reaching around 42.8 million units, solidifying its position as the world’s third-largest producer. Oppo also experienced a 15.2 percent increase, driven by rising sales in markets like India and South America.
Transsion’s impressive performance enabled it to secure the fifth spot globally, surpassing Vivo. With a growth rate potentially exceeding 40 percent annually, Transsion remains in close competition with Vivo for global rankings.
Vivo, despite a 6.5 percent increase in Q3 production, adopted a more conservative production plan earlier in the year. Despite a gradual improvement in the Chinese market, Vivo maintained its strategy aimed at ensuring consistent profitability.