2020 has been a difficult year for everyone and that includes some of the biggest tech stalwarts as well. South Korean giant Samsung has witnessed its lowest smartphone shipments in nine years this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic uncertainty around it.
According to a report coming from South Korea, Samsung had shipped 189.4 million mobile phones globally by the end of Q3 2020. The company is expected to sell a maximum of 270 million phones by the end of this year. That's a pretty good number considering the pandemic. However, this will be the first time the Korean chaebol is failing to reach 300 million mobile phone shipments globally since 2011.
Samsung fails to ship 300 million mobile phones for the first time in nine years
Samsung has been the number one smartphone brand globally since 2012 and has been consistently shipping over 300 million mobile phones (including feature phones) for the past nine years. However, it won't be able to reach that figure this year due to the ever-growing COVID-19 pandemic.
The South Korean giant hopes to bounce back next year though. It is aiming to ship 307 million mobile phones globally in 2021. Around 287 million units of those would be smartphones while the remaining 20 million would be feature phones.
According to the report, around 50 million of those 287 million smartphones will likely be flagship models. Those include the Galaxy S21 series, a few foldable phones in the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip series, and, hopefully, a couple of Galaxy Note models as well.
The market for foldable smartphones continues to grow rapidly and Samsung, which is a breakaway leader in this market, is expected to further strengthen its position at the top with newer, affordable, and more durable models in 2021. The company expects to sell nearly six million foldable smartphones next year.
The Galaxy S20 flagship series, which arrived at the peak of the COVID-19 related lockdowns, didn't do well this year. Samsung is now launching the Galaxy S21 series a month earlier than the usual schedule. The new flagship series breaks cover on January 14, 2021.
Samsung is introducing S Pen support to the Galaxy S series next year, although only on the Ultra model. There's still some uncertainty around whether the Galaxy Note series will continue to exist in 2021 though.
Samsung is also doubling down on mid-range, affordable 5G phones. We should see several Samsung launch several 5G-capable handsets in the Galaxy M and Galaxy A series next year. The Galaxy A32 5G and Galaxy A22 5G are some of the 5G-capable affordable Galaxy smartphones for 2021.