Media Contact

Ms. Lindsay Hou

Tel: +886-2-8978-6488 ext.667

RSS Subscription
  NAND Flash  
  Consumer Electronics  
  Green Energy  
  Internet of Things  
  Automotive Electronics  
  Innovative Technological Applications  

Press Release

Soaring Prices of Key Components Are Starting to Squeeze the Margins of Smartphone Makers, According to TrendForce

Wednesday , 03 / 01 / 2017 [ Analysts: TrendForce ]

The markets for key components used in smartphones have experienced rising prices since the second half of 2016 because of tightening supply. TrendForce’s latest analyses indicate that prices of mobile DRAM, mobile NAND Flash products and AMOLED panels will continue to climb through 2017. As smartphone brands will be raising hardware specifications of their products, they are also revealing their intentions to build up their inventories in advance. High prices of AMOLED panels and memory components during this entire year will constrain smartphone makers’ ability to attain greater profits.

ASP of Mobile DRAM to increase by more than 10% annually due to undersupply

The memory content in smartphones will continue to increase in 2017 as device makers introduce the latest upgrades such as dual-lens camera, video streaming and services that are based on artificial intelligence technologies. Flagship smartphones with 6GB or even 8GB memory are going to arrive on the market during the first half of this year.

While LPDDR4 is now the market mainstream, mobile DRAM suppliers have introduced LPDDR4X – a variant that requires less voltage than the standard solution. As suppliers have yet to make clear price differentiation between LPDDR4 and its more efficient variant, numerous smartphone brands have taken the opportunity to adopt the latter solution.

Looking at the price trend, the tight supply situation in the entire DRAM market will keep pushing up mobile DRAM prices through 2017, with the annual increase in ASP surpassing 10%.

Prices of eMMC and UFS products will keep climbing on the back of growing demand to the end of 2017

Similarly, the trend of increasing memory content per box is going to lift eMMC and UFS markets. Chinese smartphones have ratcheted up the competition by matching storage specifications of their products with those of the mainstream iPhone devices. As a result, most flagship devices on the market have advanced from the 32GB/64GB options to 64GB/128GB options. This competitive trend has also spread beyond the high-end segment, requiring smartphone makers to expand the storage capacity for their mid-range and low-end models as well.

TrendForce also expects the accelerated adoption of UFS in 2017. UFS, which is an interface standard that offers better performance than eMMC, was first adopted by Samsung in 2015 and later by other brands. TrendForce’s recent analysis puts the adoption rate of UFS in the smartphone market around 20% this year on account of more high-end application processors supporting the interface standard.

In terms of prices, eMMC and UFS products are nearing their peaks and are expected to see a more moderate sequential hike of 5~10% on average in the second quarter. Still, further price increases are expected in second half of 2017 due to the tight NAND Flash supply.

Global shipment share of smartphones with AMOLED display to reach 27.7% this year despite high AMOLED panel prices

In the market for smartphone displays, AMOLED is gaining more prominence as Apple and major brands fuel its demand and the overall production capacity for the display technology continues to expand. Under this context, WitsView projects that the share of AMOLED models in the annual global smartphone shipments will grow from 23.8% in 2016 to 27.7% in 2017. The production capacity of LTPS LCD panels is also increasing, and the global shipment shares of smartphones with LTPS LCD display is projected to advance from 31.5% in 2016 to 34.8% in 2017. As for the established a-Si display, the technology is gradually losing its position in market due to the competition from AMOLED and LTPS LCD. WitsView estimates that the global shipment share of smartphones featuring a-Si display will contract to 37.4% in 2017.

Samsung Display (SDC) this year will divide most its AMOLED panel capacity between its group company Samsung and Apple. The panel maker has very limited ability to satisfy the rising demand from other brands. Therefore, TrendForce believes that prices of AMOLED panels will most likely stay on an uptrend in the second half of 2017 because of persisting undersupply. On the other hand, prices of LTPS LCD panels for smartphones will begin to drop gradually starting in the second quarter on account of the overall production capacity expansion.

Smartphone brands are under pressure to control costs as rising component prices are affecting their bottom lines

TrendForce further points out that the soaring prices of key components are starting to impact smartphone makers’ ability to control the costs of their products and maintain healthy profit margins. For some Chinese brands, their strategy of enticing consumers with low-priced, high-specs devices will be less effective this year. Even if selling “affordable premium” products will lead to market share gains, profits will be eroded by high component prices.

To keep updated with our press releases, please follow our social media pages. facebookGoogle+TwitterLinkin

UFS eMMC a-Si LTPS AMOLED smartphone panel NAND Flash Mobile DRAM

TrendForce Press Center Copyright Notice
TrendForce grants you a limited license to use and/or republish any of the press releases on TrendForce Press Center for any legitimate media purpose (including copying and redistributing the content of press releases in any format and via any outlets), provided that you follow these license terms:

1. Reference TrendForce as the source on your works, or include a hyperlink to the original release on the TrendForce site.
2. Do not modify any press release wording, or maliciously alter its related information. Users are subject to any civil or criminal liabilities if the information displayed in the copy or redistribution of press releases is inconsistent with the original materials on TrendForce Press Center.
3. Do not modify or add hyperlinks, including but not limited to adlinks, within the press release. The authorization of press releases on TrendForce Press Center does not grant users the right to suggest, approve or endorse their value-added derivatives on behalf of this body.

If your citations of press releases contain mistakes and/or have information missing, TrendForce may, in its sole discretion, direct you to remove the content distributed via TrendForce from your site at any time and for any reason, and you agree to comply with such request.