John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Samsung’s Going to Ship a Ton of Smartphones This Year

samsung_signSamsung’s preannouncement of a better-than-expected first-quarter operating profit could be a harbinger of a killer 2013 for the company’s mobile division. If Samsung can turn in jaw-dropping results for a period that didn’t include its new Galaxy S4 smartphone, what might it pull off in the quarters that do?

Big things, according to RBC Capital analyst Mark Sue, who predicts that Samsung will gobble up significant smartphone market share in the coming months.

Sue figures that Samsung will ship 10 million S4s in the device’s first month at market, and 70 million over the course of the year (Note: Standard shipments-not-sales caveat applies here). Add to that shipments of the company’s lower-end and mid-tier smartphones — handsets that are particularly popular in emerging markets — and it’s possible that Samsung’s smartphone growth might outpace that of the broader market this year, and of Apple, as well. For the March quarter, Sue predicts that Samsung will capture 35 percent of the global smartphone market. Meanwhile, he expects Apple to snag around 20 percent.

The reason for that predicted disparity? That low-end iPhone that’s missing from Apple’s handset portfolio.

“Samsung’s expansive smartphone portfolio with a ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ approach is driving its continued strong market share gains and shipment upside,” says Sue. “Smartphone penetration is now maturing to a replacement cycle in the developed markets, while growth in emerging markets may be driven by demand for low-end/mid-tier smartphones with Samsung best positioned to benefit from this impending shift in demand demographics.”

And because of that, Sue figures that Samsung’s smartphone shipments will hit 285 million in calendar 2013, charting 34 percent year-over-year growth — well beyond the 26 percent year-over-year growth posted by the broader market.

By peddling legacy iPhones to price-sensitive customers, Apple has only scratched the surface of the low-end market. To really dig deep, it may need a new device that can go head-to-head with the low-end/mid-tier handsets on which Samsung is building its success.

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