Smartphones are nothing without the chipsets powering them. This type of silicons are known as application processors (AP). According to the latest report by Counterpoint Research, the Global Application Processor Market declined 26% in Q2 2020.
As expected, Qualcomm led the market with a 29% share, closely followed by MediaTek with a 26% share. Whereas, Huawei’s HiSilicon came at third position with a 16% share while Apple and Samsung tied in fourth place with 13% share each. Lastly, Unisoc obtained the fifth position with a 4% share.
Out of the above-mentioned top players, Qualcomm, Samsung and Unisoc witnessed a decline in their market share compared to the previous year. On the other hand, MediaTek, Huawei, and Apple showed improvements.
Neil Shah, VP of Research at Counterpoint says that Qualcomm’s decline was partly because of the increased usage of HiSilicon chips by Huawei, in addition to the overall drop of the global smartphone market as a result of the pandemic. Although HiSilicon’s market share improved a lot compared to others in the second quarter, its future is uncertain as Huawei can no longer manufacture them.
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The executive also added that 5G smartphone sales more than doubled in Q2 2020 than the previous quarter. Hence, this trend will try to offset the overall decline in H1 2020 and will play an important factor for growth in 2021.
Strict US restrictions on Huawei and 5G will help Qualcomm, MediaTek and Unisoc to gain more market share. Research Analyst Shobhit Srivastava mentioned that OPPO, realme, vivo and Xiaomi will use chipsets from the former two companies to fill the void that Huawei may leave behind.
Qualcomm could be more beneficial in the $400+ (wholesale) price segment, especially in China where Huawei currently dominates with over 40% market share. The American chipmaker could also gain share in the mid to high-end segment in Europe.
On the other hand, MediaTek will become popular with the help of its affordable 4G and 5G offerings in markets like China. Russia, and Middle East & Africa (MEA) as realme and Xiaomi will try to eat up Huawei’s share in these regions.
Last but not least, 5G will also increase the number of affordable gaming smartphones with features like high refresh rate displays powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon G and MediaTek helio G series of chips.
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