Shipment of Wi-Fi-enabled products fell 4.9 percent in 2022 to 3.8 billion as compared with 8.6 percent growth in 2021, according to a new report from International Data Corporation (IDC).
The dip in smartphone and PC shipments in 2022 took its toll on shipments for Wi-Fi-enabled products, causing them to fall for the first time ever in Wi-Fi’s decades-long history.
Shipment of products with Wi-Fi will be relatively flat in 2023 with shipments of just 3.9 billion products while 2024 will see 6.4 percent growth to 4.1 billion products. Two thirds of shipments in 2023 will be Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E, and these will continue to expand into more IoT devices as more Wi-Fi 6 chipsets targeting IoT devices hit the market.
“The drop in Wi-Fi shipments the market experienced in 2022 is unprecedented, caused by temporarily increased shipments of certain product types in 2021 and exacerbated by a drop in demand in the second half of 2022,” said Phil Solis, research director, Connectivity and Smartphone Semiconductors at IDC.
“There is all growth going forward layered with trends of more Wi-Fi 6 and 6E devices coming into play, Wi-Fi 7 chips ramping up in higher-end devices and access points, and more discrete Wi-Fi solutions in primary client devices and other product types.”
Eight Wi-Fi-enabled product types will ship over 100 million units in 2023. This number will increase to 11 in 2027 with several more product types getting close to 100 million. Primary client devices – smartphones, media tablets, and PCs – are still a key driver of shipments with around 40 percent of Wi-Fi shipments in 2023.
Primary client devices’ recent share loss is due to the flattening of that market coupled with the growth of IoT or endpoint devices with Wi-Fi. IoT reached 37 percent of shipments in 2022 and will surpass 40 percent in 2027. IoT surpassed smartphones in 2021 and will surpass all primary client devices in 2027, IDC said.