TrendForce reports that smartphone production—fueled by reduced channel inventories and spikes in seasonal demand—saw a significant uptick in the third quarter of 2023 (3Q23).
The research group says that global smartphone production in the third quarter reached approximately 308 million units, marking a 13% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ )increase. Although this figure has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels, it represents a 6.4% YoY increase, effectively ending an eight-quarter streak of annual declines.
Looking ahead to 4Q23, TrendForce says that e-commerce promotions and the year-end shopping boom, coupled with the customary end-of-year surge in production by smartphone brands, are likely to stimulate a further 5–10% QoQ increase in production. The projected downturn in global smartphone production for 2023 is expected to be limited to less than 3%, with total annual output estimated to reach approximately 1.16 billion units, according to the research group.
Samsung, leveraging its presence in the flagship smartphone market, continues to lead the market after recording an 11.5% increase in its Q3 production at 60.1 million units. Despite Samsung’s extensive global reach, the company’s conservative planning in light of global economic headwinds has narrowed its annual production lead over Apple to a mere 5 million units, according to TrendForce.
The research group says that Apple, riding the wave of its latest flagship releases, saw its Q3 production climb 17.9% to reach approximately 49.5 million units. However, the initial low yield rates of the CIS in the iPhone 15/15 Plus series adversely affected Apple’s Q3 performance, resulting in a 1.5% YoY market share decline, with annual production expected to align with 2022 levels.
Huawei’s re-entry with its flagship phones has made a significant impact on the high-end smartphone market in China, with Apple being the primary target, according to TrendForce. As Huawei aims to expand its high-end flagship series in 2024 with a focus on the Chinese domestic market, the company is set to directly take on Apple. This strategy, coupled with prevailing geopolitical factors, positions Huawei as a formidable competitor and is anticipated to significantly impact Apple’s production performance in the upcoming year.