Following an off year that saw its smartphone business shrink for the first time in a long while, Samsung is on course to restore it to its full glory and likely even continue expanding its global reach, both in terms of its distribution footprint and the actual number of mobile devices it moves on an annual basis.
Industry watchers are now predicting the series will reach 60 million shipments by the end of the year, a double-digit improvement over the Galaxy S9 range which started so poorly that it made history and was repeatedly blamed for Samsung’s lackluster performance throughout 2018.
Not only will the South Korean tech giant be selling more of its Android flagships in 2019 but it’s also believed to be commanding higher profit margins on them; although the change may not be massive, any profitability upgrade is a surprise in a year that sees the firm implement so many novel (read: expensive to manufacture) technologies into its devices, with the Galaxy S10 family sporting ultrasonic fingerprint sensors, time-of-flight modules, high-end camera systems with three (or more; see: Galaxy S10 5G) lenses, and other hardware-software combinations providing consumers with a ticket to the very bleeding edge of the world of technology.
Sources from Taiwan, the home of many Samsung suppliers, even believe the 60-million mark may be a lowball estimate, though they’re naturally inherently biased in their assessments of its performance seeing how investor optimism surrounding Samsung indirectly boosts their own valuations as well.
The mid-range proposal
As previously announced, the first quarter of the year saw Samsung continue the efforts to revamp the mid-range portion of its device portfolio, faced with growingly aggressive competition from China such as Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, and OnePlus. As Meizu and LeEco are the only major manufacturers from the Far Eastern country that failed to maintain and build on its momentum from the mid-2010s, Samsung mustered a response strategy, though it’s still unclear whether it did so too late seeing how it already took significant hits in key mid-range markets, i.e. developing countries such as India where many consumers are only now buying their first smartphones.
Value is now the new name of the game for Samsung, with that philosophy being epitomized by the Galaxy A30 and A50 launched in February, as well as the Galaxy A70 debuted just yesterday as the tech juggernauts latest attempt at blurring the lines between the two price brackets.
What that means in the long run is that Samsung’s reducing the amount of stock it puts on the value of its brand, whereas up until last year, it primarily counted on its name alone to sell all mobile devices, even in price segments occupied by demographics who often don’t have the luxury of caring about the name engraved on the back of the gadgets they use to communicate on a daily basis.
The company’s new mid-range proposal is that of value, highlighting multiple-camera setups, high-quality displays (which it makes in-house), and versatile artificial intelligence permeating the entirety of its products. Value is even at the center of the company’s latest premium handsets seeing how the Galaxy S range partially reverted back to flat-screen designs last month, having done so with the Galaxy S10e, Samsung’s first true “affordable flagship” meant to rival the likes of the upcoming OnePlus 6T and Honor 11.
The foldable dream
Then there’s the Galaxy Fold, the firm’s seminal foldable smartphone launched last month which will start hitting stateside store shelves on April 26. Industry watchers are naturally more skeptical about its potential as not even Samsung itself expects a handset that’s dangerously close to the $2,000 territory will be a commercial hit. Still, the Seoul-based chaebol is likely to sell between 1.5 and 2.5 million Galaxy Fold units by this time next year, as per the same report.