TrendForce’s latest look at the smartphone industry’s quarterly shipments not only makes good reading for Samsung, it offers the South Korean company a rare chance to capitalize on a moment of strength over rival manufacturer Apple.
Of the 292 million smartphones shipped in Q1 2016, Samsung accounted for 27.8 percent, almost double Apple’s 14.4 percent share. Doubling the numbers of your nearest rival is always a good to hear. Even if circumstances mean this is unlikely to hold over the next few quarters, it gives the South Korean company’s PR team a vital promotional edge over the next month – a period when the new flagship handsets are still hot and in demand.
It’s worth nothing that the quarter saw Samsung release the Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge, two highly anticipated phones that consumers have been waiting on. This would have helped push the South Korean shipment figures higher. In the same quarter Apple had little new to offer. While the iPhone 6S family was still holding its own after the festive period, the only new device to join the portfolio was the iPhone SE, which arrived at the very end of the quarter. The impact of the budget handset will not show up until the current quarter ends.
As expected, the perfect storm of a weak point in Apple’s smartphone cycle, coupled with the peak moment in Samsung’s cycle has given the South Korean company a moment where it can maximize every advantage it has against a weakened competition. Apple is of course already on the turn, the iPhone SE will start showing up in volume over the next few months, and as the anticipation builds around the presumptively titled iPhone 7, the Galaxy S7 family will see sales tail off as the fans all pick up their new smartphone.
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Samsung needs to build up momentum now with these figures. It has a much wider product portfolio and there are new handsets coming on stream throughout the year. The S7 is expected to bring an S7 Active and S7 Mini into the portfolio, there is a huge amount of excitement around the potential of the Galaxy Note 6, and Samsung’s midrange devices – while not getting the critical acclaim – are playing a huge role in boosting Samsung’s revenue and profit.