Chinese OEMs like Xiaomi, vivo and OPPO are betting big on fast-charging smartphones. They have released models that support more than 65W fast charging, while Samsung and Apple’s models usually support 20W-45W. The new technology has become one of the differentiating marketing factors in the smartphone market, thanks to the increasing battery consumption due to the expanding size of displays and increasing 5G adoption. Higher battery consumption gradually increases battery capacity, which in turn increases charging time.
The display size affects the battery consumption a lot. The larger the display size, the more the battery consumption. Sales of smartphones with over 6.5-inch displays increased in 2021 compared to 2020 as more consumers watched video clips or played games on their smartphones. The proportion of 6.1-6.4-inch smartphones, which accounted for the largest sales in 2020, decreased from 40% to 28% while that of 6.5-inch smartphones, which was only about 28% in 2020, increased to 40% in 2021.
Smartphone Sales Share by Display Size and Battery Capacity
Source: Counterpoint Research Monthly Smartphone Tracker
The increasing 5G smartphone penetration is also increasing the battery capacity. Usually, 5G phones consume more battery than 4G phones. 5G smartphones, which accounted for only 18% of total smartphone sales in 2020, reached 40% in 2021. As 5G services are now being rapidly introduced in emerging countries such as those in South America and the Middle East, and in India, the battery capacity of major smartphone models is gradually increasing. The sales proportion of smartphones with a battery capacity of 3000 mAh-4000 mAh fell from 44% in 2020 to 35% in 2021, while the sales proportion of smartphones with large battery capacities of 4000 mAh-5000 mAh increased from 25% in 2020 to 40% in 2021.
Since charging time increases with battery capacity, fast charging has become one of the noticeable marketing points. With OEMs using different fast-charging techniques and technologies, the charging speed of their models differs. Samsung’s Galaxy S22 supports 25W while the S22+ and S22 Ultra support 45W charging speed. Similarly, the iPhone 13 series, except for the iPhone 13 mini, supports 23W charging speed. On the other hand, Chinese OEMs’ latest models can support 65W or even higher. The vivo iQoo Neo 6, released in April, can be charged up to 80% in 20 minutes.
Chinese OEMs’ New Fast-charging Smartphone Models
Sources: Official websites
Chinese OEMs focus on higher levels of fast charging more than Samsung and Apple as they have been actively adopting large-size displays and large-capacity batteries for differentiating their specifications. However, fast charging should solve the overheating problem. If not, it could cause unexpected accidents like battery explosions. This is the reason why Samsung and Apple, which put more weight on stability, are maintaining a conservative position on fast charging, unlike Chinese OEMs.