The chipset industry might be facing a shortage but it still seems like manufacturers such as Mediatek and Qualcomm will continue to dominate the market in the year 2021. The new research comes from Counterpoint which reveals some interesting predictions.
As per Counterpoint’s Foundry & Application Processor (AP/SoC) research, global smartphone AP (Application Processor)/SoC (System on Chip) chipset shipments will grow 3% YoY in 2021, despite the impact of supply constraint, along with rapid growth of 5G smartphones and related competitive dynamics.
Commenting on the research, Research Director Dale Gai said, “When we break down our forecast with respect to the current demand-supply dynamics, MediaTek is likely to continue its Q4 2020 momentum into 2021 and likely to capture 37% unit share of all the smartphone AP/SoC shipped for the full the year”.
The chipset maker’s global market share in 2020 was 32% which was again higher than Qualcomm’s 28%. This year again, MediaTek is expected to constitute 37% of the global share compared to Qualcomm’s 31% share prediction. With this, MediaTek will lead the market for the second time in a row. On the other hand, Apple is expected to grow its share by just 1% for this year.
“This 20% potential annual uptick in demand is a function of competitive 5G portfolio powering sub-$150 5G smartphones manufactured at TSMC without any supply constraint and growing share in 4G segment. Further, MediaTek in the first half of 2021 will benefit from Qualcomm’s current supply constraints around RFICs (radio-frequency integrated circuits) from Samsung’s Austin fab, Power management ICs (PMIC), and relatively lower 5nm production yields”, Gai added.
Gai also predicts that Qualcomm will make a strong comeback in the second half of 2021 by securing greater capacity at TSMC to boost its 5G-centric tiered Snapdragon portfolio. He says that the high end chips made with 7nm, 6nm and 5nm fabrication process will constitute for almost half of the smartphone shipment volume in 2021. These leading nodes are mainly for 5G smartphone models.
Advanced nodes (e.g., 11/12/14nm at TSMC and Samsung) will serve the mainstream 4G LTE chipsets in 2021. Research Analyst Parv Sharma further notes that Counterpoint expects Qualcomm to increase its 5G SoC market share to grow to 30% mark in 2021, from 28% in 2020. When including 5G baseband shipments to Apple, the overall 5G chipset market share jumps to 59% level.
Sharma further adds, “MediaTek leveraging TSMC and its affordable 5G portfolio is well-positioned to almost double its market share in 5G smartphone SoC/AP segment. Together, MediaTek and Qualcomm occupy nearly two-thirds of the 5G smartphone SoC market demand, but the gap between the two has narrowed”.