Apple supplier expects demand for 'at least' 500M 5G devices in 2021

Apple and other manufacturers are looking to move in on Huawei’s shrinking fortunes.

What you need to know

  • An Apple supplier of ceramic capacitors expects demand from smartphone makers for 5G devices to hit at least 500 million in 2021.

A new report says an Apple supplier expects demand for 5G devices from smartphone vendors to top half a billion in 2021 driven by devices like the iPhone 12, as rivals look to move in on space left by Huawei in the sector.

From South China Morning Post:

Murata Manufacturing, the world’s biggest maker of ceramic capacitors for Apple and other smartphone brands, expects demand for fifth-generation wireless devices to surpass 500 million handsets in the coming financial year, building on a rush to replace Huawei Technologies Co. in the global consumer arena.

SCMP notes that Huawei’s own mobile business is shrinking “under the weight of US sanctions”, and that rivals like Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are trying to secure components for their 5G smartphones to try and capitalize.

In December, Murata’s president, Norio Nakajima, said the company would not take a holiday break to try and catch up with orders:

“These handset makers are competing to grab our supply capacity once taken by Huawei, and I am not sure how much of it is backed up by their actual production forecast. I feel like the move is overheated, and thus expect their orders would drop in February and March.”

Noting that the industry shipped 300 million 5G devices in the current financial year, Nakajima says Murata expects this to increase to “at least 500 million” in the next. Even more encouraging, SCMP reports that analysts think Nakijima is being “too conservative”, and that demand for components will not drop “at any point in this calendar year”. Previous reports have noted that demand for Apple’s 5G iPhone 12 lineup has been stronger than expected.

Yesterday it was reported that 2020 saw a record slump in smartphone production, but that despite this Apple managed to capture 31% of the 5G market in just three months from October through December.

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