As we move ever closer to the end of 2015, it’s around this time that industry experts start to unveiled their top predictions for the year ahead.
At its recent 2016 IT Industry Forecast Conference, global market research firm TrendForce unveiled 10 tech trends that it expects to impact the IT channel throughout 2016.
- Smartphone shipment growth will slow
The driver of the global smartphone market next year will come from the replacement demand for 4G smartphones in China, according to Kelly Hsieh, TrendForce senior manager for mobile communication and end device research. Vendors will also be very active in the emerging markets, with India being the focus of their attention.
- Three major vendors will dominate the VR device market
The introduction of the Apple Watch did not generate high growth in the smartwatch market as initially expected. Therefore, wearable device developers are now shifting their interests to other attractive products, and virtual reality (VR) devices presently show a lot of potentials. Jason Tsai, TrendForce wearable device analyst, said the sales of VR devices is estimated to soar to 14 million units next year, when vendors will be making mass shipments of their products.
- As IoT branches into different applications, developing better services will become the new competitive advantage
According to TrendForce IoT analyst Jimmy Liu, participants in the IoT sector will continue to focus on developing service-based applications. Cultivating vertical industry expertise and cross-industry collaboration will be essential to creating new kinds of services.
- Worldwide sales of industrial robots will reach 290,000 units
On an annual basis, the sales of industrial robots worldwide are projected to grow 15 per cent in 2015 and 10 per cent in 2016, totalling 264,000 and 290,000 units respectively. In 2014, the top three markets for industrial robots were China, Japan and the U.S. However, Asia as a whole is set to become a significant market, and the region may even outpace Europe and the U.S. in demand growth by 2016.
- The automotive electronics market will shine
Based on TrendForce’s estimation, plug-in vehicle sales will surpass 450,000 units this year, and the market is expected to see steady growth in 2016. According to Eric Chang, TrendForce automotive electronics analyst, the automotive electronic market will experience a boom in the next three to five years.
- IoT to play a key role in the transformations and adjustments of IC industry
TrendForce research manager Jian-Hong Lin notes that developments in the Internet of Things (IoT) sector will increasingly exert influences on semiconductor products in terms of design features and production cycles. Going into 2016, Integrated circuit (IC) companies will need to differentiate their products to become more competitive as well as transforming their business models in order to prepare for the next wave of innovations.
- Weak demand will continue to drag down DRAM prices
In 2016, Samsung will maintain its technological lead and put considerable pressure on its competitors by migrating to the 18nm process. However, SK Hynix and Micron will also have plans to make sure that they are not too far behind. Ken Kuo, DRAMeXchange assistant vice president, expects the DRAM chip market to suffer sharper price decline next year if there is not enough demand to effectively consume the DRAM chips.
- Market for high-brightness LED products will consolidate
While LED lighting products are seeing rising demands and have replaced numerous traditional products in different applications, their average selling prices have gone down by 30–40 per cent due to oversupply. Duff Lu, LEDinside research manager, notes that the industry will undergo consolidation next year with companies merging or being driven out of business.
- PV market to see falling prices
According to EnergyTrend analyst Corrine Lin, the current oversupply situation in the market is unlikely to ease due to the ongoing capacity expansion efforts by major photovoltaic (PV) companies. Prices across the PV supply chain therefore will still be under heavy downward pressure in 2016.
- Prices to remain weak in the panel market as production capacity outstrips market demand
Eric Chiou, WitsView senior research director, noted that panel makers are constantly expanding their production capacity for large- and small-size panels. Furthermore, their stances on capacity adjustments have been generally conservative since they want to retain their market shares. The oversupply situation will therefore gradually worsen. On a quarterly basis, the overall panel supply-demand ratio is estimated to be upwards of 9 per cent between this year’s fourth quarter to the middle of 2016.
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