Trendforce data seen by us suggests that Samsung overtook Apple in Q1 smartphone sales even before the company’s new flagship Galaxy S8 lands in stores in Q2. Most of the gains made by the company were thanks to lower-end devices.
Samsung’s sales results for its high-end smartphones fell short of expectations in the first quarter as consumers’ confidence in the brand had yet to fully recover from the recall of Galaxy Note 7. Nevertheless, Samsung continued to do very well in the mid-range and low-end segments of the market. The economically priced, high-performing Galaxy J series sustained Samsung’s shipments and contributed significantly to the expansion of the brand’s overall smartphone production volume. Samsung was the only brand that saw positive growth in production volume during the off season of the first quarter.
There was less cheer when it came to high-end devices, however …
Trendforce predicts that the launch of the flagship Galaxy S8 handset will have relatively limited impact as consumers hold fire to see what Apple offers this year.
Major brands such as Samsung, LG and Huawei have begun to ship their flagship devices for the year, but the market demand going into the second quarter is expected to remain relatively weak as consumers are holding off their purchases in anticipation of the 10th anniversary iPhone devices that will arrive in the third quarter. Smartphone sales will be fairly lackluster until the second half of this year.
Samsung has also released its flagship device for the year Galaxy S8 this second quarter. However, the high-end model is expected to make limited sales contribution because the buzz surrounding the next-generation iPhone devices is dampening demand for products from non-Apple vendors. Samsung is expected to post flat growth for its second-quarter smartphone production volume.
Where Samsung’s other competitors are concerned, LG’s high-end V20 also didn’t help the company much.
Because of the seasonal effect on demand, LG’s first-quarter smartphone production volume plummeted by almost 40% compared with the prior quarter. This was despite that the brand had rolled out the high-end device V20 in the second half of 2016 to help drive shipments during the turn of the year and beyond.
But it does believe that the upcoming G6 will help return the company’s sales to a similar level as last year.
Huawei remained the market leader in China, and is expected to grow its sales in Q2 thanks to its Leica-lensed P10. OPPO and Vivo are also expected to recover from their recent declines as they continue to push affordable premium devices and expand into more overseas markets. Xiaomi is also expected to boost its sales through the Mi Note series.