by N. Peter Kramer
TrendForce, an analyst company, predicts global smartphone production to begin its recovery in 2021 after dropping 11 percent in 2020. It forecast further bad news for Huawei with the Chinese manufacturer expected to plummet to the seventh largest producer in 2021, down from third last year.
In its market predictions for 2021 the analyst company said it expected 1.36 billion smartphones to be produced. This compared to the 1.25 billion made in 2020, as manufacturers seek to take advantage of an anticipated increase in demand in emerging markets and a general ‘relatively strong wave of device replacements’. Although constituting an improvement, the figure is still below the number of devices which came off the assembly line in 2019.
TrendForce noted a greater proportion of devices produced this year are likely to support 5G, with 37 percent of new handsets expected to use the latest network technology compared to 19 percent in 2020. Despite its optimistic predictions, the company said production could be scaled-back later in the year if expected demand does not materialise or if access to specific components is limited, as was the case for periods of 2020.
In terms of top manufacturers, TrendForce forecast the sale of Huawei sub-brand Honor, combined with the continued impact of US export restrictions, to cause the manufacturer to plummet to the seventh largest producer in 2021, down from third last year. It expects the top 6 producers to be (in order): Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Transsion. These companies contribute 80 percent of all handsets produced globally.