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Monthly Market Pulse - December 2020

Feb 1, 2021 | Author : Varun Mishra


  • Global smartphone sell-in hit roadblock due to shortages; all markets except China showed strong demand
    • Recovery in the market hit a major roadblock in December as the surge in demand was halted by supply issues.  All markets except for China showed strong demand in sell-through. But component shortages were not relieved in December and many smartphone brands could not produce sufficient products to meet the demand.
    • The component shortages come mostly from PMIC and DDI. There are also some shortages in 4G, 5G chipsets, especially Mediatek, which are in high demand. Unexpected demand for laptops and tablets pushed demand for PMIC components. The automotive sector also recovered faster than expected. 5G phones require more PMICs, so the situation worsened through 2H 2020.
    • The final blow came from the Huawei semiconductor trade ban. Huawei procured components to sustain its market position. These included 4G, 5G chipsets and many other components including PMIC, DDI, which were already in shortage. The prospect of Huawei losing share caused other OEMs to increase orders in the expectation they would be able to win Huawei’s share – leading to over-ordering. This situation will continue in Q1 2021.
  • Apple records its highest ever monthly sales in December; Refurb Market also gets a boost
    • Apple reached its highest ever one-month sales in Dec 2020 driven by the new iPhone 12 series upgrade cycle. Sales for Apple grew 10% month on month and 27% year on year in December. The sales grew across all regions. Apple reached its highest ever market share in several markets including the US, Europe, China and India.
    • One of the reasons for this was the late launch of the 12 series, which pushed some of the sales to December compared to last year.  December has also been traditionally the best month for Apple driven by the year end festive season sales.
    • The upgrade cycle for Apple also gave a boost to the refurbished handset market in the second half of 2020. Hit by the pandemic and slow upgrades during the first half, the global refurbished smartphone market fell 9% YoY in 2020 but Apple’s share grew from 39% to 42% which will be good for the refurb market.
  • Smartphone market further skews towards Premium Segment (US$600 and above) in December; Apple to drive the Global Smartphone ASPs in Q4 2020
    • The US$600 and above price band captured close to one fourth of the smartphone sales in December. The bump in the premium segment will drive the Global ASPs in Q4 2020.
    • This was mainly driven by Apple.  While the iPhone Pro models dominated the ultra premium (US$800 and above) segment, the US$600- US$699 segment was dominated by the iPhone 12.
    • Overall, The iPhone 12 Pro Max was the best-selling device in December. Our Weekly Data for US indicates, the iPhone 12 Pro Max out-sold the iPhone 12 Pro by more than 2x in the US alone.

Table of Contents:

  • Key Takeaways
  • Global Mobile Handset Market Analysis
  • Country-Level Smartphone Market Analysis
  • Global Hardware Feature Analysis
  • Global Hit Model Analysis

Author: Varun Mishra
Number of Pages: 41
Published Date: February 2021


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