IDH/ODM Smartphone Market Defies Odds: Shipments Steady as Overall Industry Dips in 2023

The smartphone industry faced a 4% decrease in total shipments in 2023, yet the segment for Independent Design Houses/Original Design Manufacturers (IDHs/ODMs) remained resilient, achieving a significant milestone by contributing more than ever to the overall market volume. That’s according to market research firm Counterpoint. This trend underscores a strategic pivot among major smartphone brands towards outsourcing, as companies like Samsung, Xiaomi, Honor, Oppo, and vivo look to navigate the highly competitive market landscape effectively.

Source: Counterpoint

Leading the charge in the IDH/ODM space are Huaqin, Longcheer, and Wingtech, which together accounted for the majority of shipments in this category. Despite the overall market downturn, some emerging ODMs such as MobiWire and Innovatech reported growth, buoyed by orders from Transsion, indicating a shift within the lower tiers of the market.

The global market is expected to have a flat recovery, however projections for 2024 suggest a 4% annual growth in IDH/ODM shipments, potentially outpacing the broader industry. This optimistic outlook is rooted in the successful partnerships established by Tier-1 ODMs with leading smartphone brands over the past five years, aiming not only to sustain profitability but also to make inroads into the more lucrative high-tier and premium segments. With 5G technology becoming increasingly mainstream, the role of ODMs in making 5G smartphones more affordable is about to become more critical.