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Qualcomm's smartphone SoC market share rises to 30%, but MediaTek still leads

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (Image credit: Qualcomm)

What you need to know

  • MediaTek continued to lead the global smartphone AP market in Q4 2021.
  • It held a 33% share of the market, while Qualcomm's share stood at 30%.
  • Counterpoint expects MediaTek to have a strong 2022 due to 5G migration in several parts of the world, combined with continued LTE demand.

The global smartphone AP/SoC market grew by 5% YoY in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to new research from Counterpoint. Unsurprisingly, demand for 5G smartphone SoCs continued to grow and accounted for almost half of the total SoC shipments during the quarter.

MediaTek led the smartphone SoC market in the October to December period with a market share of 33%. When compared to the same period a year earlier, however, MediaTek's market share fell by 4%. Its shipments also declined due to "inventory corrections" by Chinese smartphone OEMs.

Counterpoint Global Smartphone Ap Market Q4

Source: Counterpoint Research (Image credit: Source: Counterpoint Research)

Qualcomm's shipments grew by 18% in Q4 2021, thanks to solid growth in the premium segment and dual-sourcing from foundries. Its global market share too went up to 30% from 23% a year earlier. More importantly, Qualcomm grabbed a 76% share of total 5G baseband shipments, thanks to strong sales of Apple's iPhone 13 and 12 series devices as well as premium Android phones.

Commenting on Qualcomm's performance in the fourth quarter, Counterpoint's senior analyst Parv Sharma said:

Qualcomm was able to prioritize high-end Snapdragon sales, which come with higher profitability and less impact from shortages than mid-end and low-end mobile handsets. The company was also able to increase supplies from its major foundry partners by dual-sourcing key products.

Qualcomm is expected to see similar growth in Q1 2022, thanks to design wins in the Samsung Galaxy S22 series and new flagships from Chinese Android OEMs.

Apple remained the third-largest player in the global smartphone SoC market in Q4 2021, with a market share of 21%. Unisoc grabbed the fourth position with an 11% share. Samsung Exynos slipped to the fifth position due to a rejig in Samsung's smartphone strategy and outsourcing to Chinese ODMs.

Babu Mohan
Babu Mohan
1 Comment
  • I've hated seeing an increase in MediaTek chips in lower midrange and budget smartphones the last couple of years. Thats a definite step backwards for a segment that has been enjoying increasing quality and value. In my opinion P and G series chips are poor performers.The Dimensity series is better but still second rate.