Quectel Widens Gap with Competition in Global Cellular IoT Module Market During COVID-hit Q2 2020

Quectel Widens Gap with Competition in Global Cellular IoT Module Market During COVID-hit Q2 2020

  • Quectel dominated global cellular IoT module market, capturing close to a third of the shipments in Q2 2020.
  • Fibocom and u-blox made it to the top five global cellular IoT module vendor rankings.
  • Healthcare applications more than doubled annually while enterprise applications contributed to the majority of IoT module shipments during the quarter.

Global cellular IoT module shipments increased 8% YoY and 15% QoQ during Q2 2020, solely driven by the revival of IoT demand in China after the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the latest research by Counterpoint Global Cellular IoT Module and Chipset Tracker.

Demand across Europe and North America suffered in Q2 2020 due to COVID-19, falling 8.3% YoY and 7.9% YoY, respectively, in these key regions. In terms of the total global IoT module shipment revenues, the market grew 15% YoY during Q2 2020. Quectel, u-blox, Sierra Wireless, Fibocom and Thales (Gemalto) were the leading suppliers in terms of the global IoT module revenue share during the quarter.

Talking about the China rebound and other factors helping a few IoT module vendors to race ahead, Research Associate Soumen Mandal said:

“Quectel had a terrific quarter as it gained market share across regions. The steady investment in R&D, coupled with a variety of module launches across different technologies and application categories, helped the vendor maintain the momentum from Q1 2020. During the period, Quectel also set up an intelligent manufacturing center in Foshan to increase its capacity. This should help the vendor scale up its portfolio to cater to the growing demand.”

Counterpoint chart: global iot module shipments by brand q2-2020

Mandal added:
“Sunsea AIoT group maintained its second position with an increase in its market share following 29% QoQ growth in demand for its modules. However, it saw a flat YoY growth. Fibocom, another fast-growing vendor, became the third-largest IoT module supplier in Q2 2020 in terms of shipments, surpassing the incumbents Thales, Sierra Wireless and Telit. Fibocom also acquired Sierra Wireless’s automotive embedded module business during the quarter, which should further boost its market share. u-blox also jumped back to the top five rankings during the quarter, capturing 6% share with demand for its 4G IoT module in China and other regions. u-blox also acquired Thingstream in the quarter to help customers connect their sensor-based devices seamlessly to the cloud. As Counterpoint has been highlighting the move to a platform play, the IoT players are extending their offerings across the value chain, either in terms of acquisitions or striking partnerships to build a robust out-of-the-box chipset-to-cloud connectivity. The slowdown in the automotive sector affected the demand for Thales’ IoT modules across the pandemic-stricken Europe and North America markets and the vendor slipped to the fifth position. But with an improving market landscape and focus on LPWA modules, Thales can make a comeback in coming quarters.”

Commenting on the top-selling IoT module models, Research Associate Anish Khajuria said:
“During the quarter, the Quectel BC66, SIMCom SIM868, Fibocom N700 and the u-blox Toby R200 were the best-selling modules for the respective vendors. However, the top five spots in terms of the global IoT module model shipments went to Quectel.”

Counterpoint chart: global iot module shipments by application q2-2020

Vice-President Research Neil Shah said:

“Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, shipments for healthcare applications increased 110% YoY. Increased demand in the areas like patient monitoring, telehealth, medical equipment, emergency medical services and wearables benefited growth. However, enterprise, industrial and retail segments continued to lead the global cellular IoT module application market during Q2 2020.”

Shah added:
“With the rising number of NB-IoT module shipments, we are witnessing high growth in smart meter, enterprise and telematics applications. The global NB-IoT module ASP decreased by 18% in Q2 2020, which is the major factor for rising usage of NB-IoT module applications.”

Commenting on the IoT module cellular chipset supplier landscape, Shah said:
“Qualcomm increased its market share, capturing almost half of the cellular baseband chipsets for IoT modules globally. Qualcomm benefits from its global scale, partnerships, carrier certifications and partly from lack of focus and development from Intel in this segment. MediaTek struggled to increase market share in this segment as small Chinese module vendors could not recover from the COVID-19 outbreak and the share shifted towards Qualcomm-centric IoT module players. It will be interesting to monitor the rise of Sequans, Sony (Altair Semi), Unisoc, ASR and u-blox in coming quarters, especially across the high-growth LTE-Cat 1 and LPWA IoT module categories. The rise of Sequans in North America and Japan, Altair in Europe and Japan, and ASR and Unisoc in China will shape the key regional competitive landscape for the cellular IoT module baseband chipset suppliers going forward.”

The comprehensive and in-depth ‘Global Cellular IoT Module and Chipset Tracker 2018Q1-2020Q2’ and ‘Global Cellular IoT Module by Brand by Tech by Application Tracker 2018Q1- 2020Q2’ reports are a part of Counterpoint’s IoT (Internet of Things) Service. They are available for download for subscribing clients.

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