Samsung will ship 40 to 44 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2012. And they may exceed 50 million in Q2, according to Korean ET News, quoting securities industry sources tracking the company.
The record-breaking shipments will come mostly due to the continuing success of Samsung Galaxy S line, and a surprising/new category defining hit – Galaxy Note. It is estimated that Samsung was able to sell 4 million 5.3” Notes during the first three months of the year. With lower end Android Galaxy smartphones continuing to do great as well.
With the launch of highly anticipated Galaxy S3 flagship sometime during the next quarter, Samsung’s smartphone sales could top 50 million.
Now, before you go and crown Samsung as smartphone industry leader once again, bear in mind, that all the numbers above – are just guesstimates. As are most of the things we think we know about Samsung’s smartphone sales over last year. Once in a while, Sammy throws us a bone in the form of some milestone achieved – 2 million Galaxy Notes sold, 10 or 20 million Galaxy S2s shipped, etc;. But it stopped reporting mobile handset shipments almost year ago. And since then, estimates of how many smartphones Samsung actually sells each quarter, vary by millions of units from one analyst to the next.
What’s more – 44 million or even 40 million smartphones sold in Q1, is a very optimistic estimate even for Samsung. Everywhere except China, Q1 is the slowest quarter for consumer electronics. Coming off a usually huge Christmas/Holiday Shopping Season. Which was made even bigger last year, due to some calendar quirks which added one more week to count sales in Q4 2011. A lot of upside sales surprises three months ago came due to that one extra week of sales. A week, which also made the Q1 2012 several days shorter than usual. And many companies, including Apple, Samsung and Nokia – warned us not to expect the repeat of Christmas performance in the next report.
Just keeping up with the numbers at the end of last year – will already be an achievement. Showing even the smallest sequential sales increase – a big surprise. And a 10-20% QoQ growth necessary for Samsung to reach the 40-44 million in smartphone sales – that’s on the very edge of possible.
But we did have a Chinese New Year gift giving season in February, and Android is doing extremely well there. There is also that Galaxy Note flying off the shelves around the world. So who knows.
I said that 40-44 million Samsung smartphones sold during January-March is only on the very edge of possible, but not beyond it. Maybe Samsung is indeed now puling away from all its smartphone competitors, and entering a new stage of growth. The Android activation jump from 700K a day in December to 850K a day in February – had to come from somewhere.
Lets see what happens when the real numbers come in about a month.