Global Smartphone Chip Market Reaches $8.9 Billion, Qualcomm Leads

Chip-maker Qualcomm has captured the smartphone applications processor (AP) market with a 45 percent revenue share in the first quarter (Q1) this year, followed by MediaTek with 25 percent and Apple with 22 percent share, according to a new report.

The global smartphone AP market grew 35 percent to reach $8.9 billion in Q1. 5G-attached AP shipments accounted for 53 percent of total smartphone APs shipped in the January-March period, according to Strategy Analytics. Despite momentum with Snapdragon flagship chips, Samsung Foundry lost share due to weak Exynos shipments. "Qualcomm's 4 nm-based flagship AP Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 gained strong traction in Q1 2022. The company's increased share in Samsung's Galaxy S devices drove its smartphone apps processor (AP) revenue to an all-time high", said Sravan Kundojjala, Director of Handset Component Technologies service.

However, the company showed signs of recovery with mid-range APs such as Exynos 1280, featured in high-volume Galaxy A-series devices

Qualcomm has been able to navigate China and macro concerns well with its premium and hightier 5G APs, which are seeing high demand from Android smartphone manufacturers. "Samsung's Exynos AP shipments fell 40 percent in Q1 due to increased competition from Qualcomm at Samsung Mobile. However, the company showed signs of recovery with midrange APs such as Exynos 1280, featured in high-volume Galaxy A-series devices", Kundojjala said.

Smartphone APs manufactured in 7 nm and below process nodes accounted for 48 percent of total smartphone AP shipments in Q1. "The low-end smartphone market demand is currently weak. We think inventory digestion will happen in the second half of 2022 as vendors continue to destock their supplies", said the report.

New entrants Google and JLQ Technologies (a JV of Leadcore and Qualcomm) together shipped less than a million APs in Q1 2022. On the other hand, HiSilicon's shipments declined to near zero. "MediaTek and Unisoc both posted an impressive performance in Q1 2022. MediaTek's Dimensity 9000 premium tier AP was off to a promising start but shipments amounted to slightly less than 1 million during the quarter", said Kundojjala.