As smartphone production volume drops, Samsung overtakes Apple

Samsung's low reliance on China allows the company to weather the economic and COVID-19 storms better than Apple.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Matt Miller

A combination of factors has pushed smartphone production down 12.8% quarter-over-quarter, allowing Samsung to overtake Apple when it comes to production volume during 1Q22, according to market intelligence firm TrendForce.

According to TrendForce, global output slumped to 310 million units during 1Q22, with headwinds identified as the war in Ukraine, Chinese lockdowns, and weakening consumer confidence.

Samsung is not only benefitting from the successful launch of the Galaxy S22 line but also an easing of the low-end 4G processor chips,

Also, thanks to Samsung's reliance on production sites located in Vietnam and India rather than China, along with its market share in China being a mere 1%, this allowed the company to better weather the storms and overtake Apple and shift 73.8 million units during the quarter.

Apple, on the other hand, is estimated to have manufactured 60 million units in 1Q22, an increase of 11.1% compared to the same period in 2021, but still not enough to stay ahead of Samsung. The company has been particularly hit by COVID-19 lockdowns in China, and there are reports that these could also end up affecting the upcoming iPhone 14.

But it's not all plain sailing for Samsung either. The company used to occupy the number one spot in Russia for sales, but sanctions in response to the Russia-Ukraine war mean the company has halted all shipments.

This is likely to put downward pressure on Samsung in the coming quarters.

Apple better not get used to that number two spot either because TrendForce predicts that Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi will move up from its current number three spot during 2Q22 to oust Apple down another place.

Oppo and Vivo occupy the fourth and fifth spots on the list.

TrendForce forecasts global smartphone production volume in 2Q22 at around 309 million units, which is roughly equivalent to shipments in 1Q22. However, with war, inflation, flagging consumer confidence, and the continued proliferation of Covid, everything is unpredictable and open to downgrades.

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