Samsung Electronics is estimating that it will ship around 26 million units of its Galaxy S21 smartphone series this year, TheElec has learned.
The figure is conservative as its Galaxy S20 series sold that much in 2020, which was considered underwhelming by the company.
Samsung set the conservative figure as its believes the COVID-19 pandemic will limit consumers’ chance to visit offline stores and its position in the premium sector as relatively weakened, people familiar with the matter said.
The company is expecting it will ship around 10 million units (40%) of the 6.2-inch Galaxy S21, 8 million units (30%) of 6.7-inch Galaxy S21+ and 8 million units (30%) of 6.8-inch Galaxy S21 Ultra, they said.
Samsung’s estimate for the top-tier Ultra model has increased compared to last year. In 2020, the South Korean tech behemoth underestimated the demand for Galaxy S20 Ultra, causing a shortage for the models that make the company lose chances to sell more of them.
Smartphone sales are focused usually in the first three months. The first month of sales determine their popularity.
Unless the Galaxy S21 smartphones show continued increased sales worldwide for the next month, Samsung’s conservative shipment estimate will likely be met. The company has only ordered slightly more components for the S21 as compared to the S20 recently, the people said.
Samsung’s own capacity produce the Exynos application processor powering some of the models sold in certain country will also likely determine its smartphone shipment. Samsung Foundry currently has a limited capacity to add additional production capacity to the APs due to high demand for system chips globally.
Apple’s iPhone 12 series and Xiaomi, which is looking to fill the vacuum left by Huawei, are also factors in the sales of Galaxy S21. If US imposes sanctions on Xiaomi, which is facing allegations by the US for ties with the Chinese military, this may give some short-term gains for S21. Samsung’s own marketing efforts in Europe and US, where the pandemic outbreaks are serious, will also be important.
Samsung lowered the cost of the normal S21 and Plus model of S21 with lower specs and are offering them at a lower price point compared to their S20 counterparts.
In 2018, the company saw lower-than-expected sales in its Galaxy S9 series. In 2019, Samsung, for the Galaxy S10 series, besides the normal and plus models, added a budget model (Galaxy S10e) and a 5G model (Galaxy S10 5G), thereby recovering the series’ annual shipment to around 35 million units.
The South Korean tech behemoth faces a tough battle in the 5G smartphone market. According to TrendForce, Apple is predicted have 35% market share in the global 5G smartphone market, while Oppo is expected to control 14%. Samsung is expected to tie with Vivo for 13%.
According to Strategy Analytics, Huawei shipped the most 5G smartphones last year, with 79.6 million units for 29% market share. This was followed by Apple’s 52.3 million units for 19% market share. Samsung shipped 41 million units for 15% market share. Apple’s first 5G smartphones, which launched in October, surpassed 5G smartphones that Samsung has been selling for practically a year.