Smartphone Rear Cameras Resolution Grows, Front Resolution Stays Flat

Counterpoint publishes a report on smartphone camera resolution trends:

Despite supply shortages, smartphone rear cameras are increasingly adopting high-resolution image sensors, which continue to penetrate lower-end smartphone segments. According to the latest research from Counterpoint Smartphone Camera Tracker, smartphones featuring rear main cameras powered by 48MP and above megapixels accounted for 43% of total sales in Q2 2021, rising significantly from 38.7% in Q1 2021. The share of 64MP alone increased 3.5% QoQ to 14% in Q2 2021.

Commenting on this high-resolution advance, Senior Analyst Ethan Qi said, “48MP and 64MP have become the mainstream for models priced between $200 and $400, while flagship smartphones resort to large-area sensors to deliver a DSLR-like professional performance, of which 50MP is the most adopted. Although the share of 108MP fell to 3.1% in Q2 2021, the more affordable 0.7µm-based 108MP sensors continue to spread to mid-range models from OEMs such as Redmi and realme.”

On the other hand, low-resolution sensors continue to suffer from the demand-supply imbalance, with the price increasing sharply. For instance, 5MP sensors have experienced more than a 10% increase in cost since the beginning of this year.

Nevertheless, entry-level smartphones (wholesale price below $100) continue to upgrade their rear primary cameras from 8MP and below resolutions to 12MP or 13MP. Therefore, the collective share of the 8MP and below cameras shrunk to 5.9% in Q2 2021.

In front main cameras, the collective share of 20MP and above resolutions almost stayed flat QoQ in Q2 2021 due to the decline in sales of high-end models. However, we expect the resolution of the front-facing camera to continue to improve with more high-end smartphones adopting 32MP and even 48MP image sensors.

Meanwhile, the share of 8MP and below resolutions further increased to 45.2%, with 5MP and 8MP together accounting for 41.7% on strong demand for low-end smartphones in Q2.