Will Smartphone Industry Be Flourish Again in 2019?

Latest Update January 2, 2019
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The 2018 overview of smartphones, indispensable electronic devices for modern people, seems to be all the big news on the movements of many new product launches. It is the movements that not only should consumers pay attention to, but people in related industries such as electronics industry, materials industry, and machine tools industry should also focus on as well.


Sluggish Period

From the end of 2017 to the beginning of 2018, the growth of the smartphone industry resulted in greatly higher needs for related production machinery such as industrial robots, injection molding machines, and others. The major smartphone manufacturer like Apple announced its sales in the first quarter of 2018 with a value of 61,100 million dollars, up 16% from the previous year, which CEO Tim Cook said it was a good sales.

However, the electronic component manufacturers or the suppliers reported that the production volume had been falling since the end of 2017, which was quite a bad sign.

In the second quarter of 2018, the demand for smartphones dropped dramatically, especially the demand from China, which was one of the big smartphone markets. As a result, the demand for machine tools and industrial robots decreased. Some electronic component manufacturers subsequently began to deflect to other industries such as the automotive industry that produces more and more vehicles requiring electronic components.

At the end of 2018, the stagnation of the smartphone market has obviously affected suppliers even more. With the slowdown of orders from the smartphone industry including the case of Huawei being banned from many countries at the end of the year and the fact that Huawei's smartphones has a third largest share in the global market, it is expected that this issue will affect a wide range of related industries.

However, the movements in the smartphone industry are not just negative. Quite positive movements still can be expected.

High Quality Parts: Ripples to the Electronic Parts Manufacturers 


One of the movements to watch at the end of the year was the launch of a new iPhone model in September. Even though some electronic component manufacturers did not expect that it would have much impact, some manufacturers expressed the opposite opinions by reporting that the arrival of this new smartphone allowed the company to do more sales. Trends after this can therefore be more difficult to predict. However, one of the parts in evidently higher demand was the multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCC). The demand was so high that they were in short supply. 

Another important parts expected to be in higher demand from the smartphone industry is the organic light-emitting diode screen (OLED screen). It is expected to be used in the smartphone production up to 30% by 2030.

The main reason that many parties were predicting that the OLED screen would be in higher demand was the strengths of this type of monitor, that is, when compared to the LCD screen, it can be produced a lot thinner, is flexible and bendable, and does not require the backlights to give light. All of these features give more freedom to design the OLED than the LCD monitors.

Foldable Smartphones

The above mentioned qualities will lead to the "foldable smartphone." Samsung, who is holding the highest share in the current smartphone market, said that "Folding smartphones are the future of smartphones." Other manufacturers such as Royole also have already launched their foldable smartphones. So have other companies that is expected to join in this trend like Motorola, LG, Huawei, and ZTE as well. If the foldable smartphones become widespread, it is expected that the smartphone market may come back again, which will greatly benefit the electronic component manufacturers and the chemical manufacturers.

In addition, the arrival of 5G may be another factor that will help boost the demand for high-performance smartphones. 

With many factors and the uncertain direction of the future, it is worthwhile to see if these trends will be any clearer in 2019 and which direction it will be so that the manufacturers in related industries can immediately adjust their plan accordingly. At the same time, the manufacturers have to move along with the industry advancement by enhancing their production as well.