Samsung resumes world’s top smartphone maker status

Song Su-hyun

SEOUL (The Korea Herald/ANN) - Samsung appears to have shaken the negative consumer sentiments stemming from the discontinued Galaxy Note 7 battery crisis.

Samsung Electronics reclaimed the No. 1 position in the global smartphone market for the first three months of 2017, a market report showed Wednesday. 

According to market researcher TrendForce, Samsung won back the top spot with a 26.1 per cent market share for the January-March period, gaining from 18.5 per cent in the final quarter of 2016. 

Apple, the archrival of the South Korean smartphone maker, slid to the second highest with 16.9 per cent. 

“Samsung’s sales results for its high-end smartphones fell short of expectations in the first quarter as consumers’ confidence in the brand had yet to fully recover from the recall of Galaxy Note 7,” the report said. “Nevertheless, Samsung continued to do very well in the mid-range and low-end segments of the market with the economically priced, high-performing Galaxy J series that sustained Samsung’s shipments and contributed significantly to the expansion of the brand’s overall smartphone production volume.”

Global smartphone production volume for the first quarter of 2017 totaled 307 million units, down 23 per cent from the previous quarter, largely due to lowered production of smartphone brands based in China, the report said.

Samsung was the only brand that saw positive growth in production volume during the off season of the first quarter.

“There was a rebound from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the first quarter this year as the recall issue came to an end,” said a Samsung spokesman. “The company will boost marketing and sales efforts with the latest Galaxy S8 model for the second quarter.” 

However, due to high expectations on the upcoming iPhone series, which would dampen demand for non-Apple vendors, Samsung may see limited sales growth with its latest high-end Galaxy S8, the researcher highlighted. 

“Major brands such as Samsung, LG and Huawei have begun to ship their flagship devices for the year, but the market demand going into the second quarter is expected to remain relatively weak as consumers are holding off their purchases in anticipation of the 10th anniversary iPhone devices that will arrive in the third quarter.” 

“For the entire 2017, Samsung is estimated to increase its production volume by as much as 5 percent compared with the volume figure of 2016,” it added. 

Meanwhile, LG Electronics came in sixth with a 4.6 per cent market share. 

Due to conventional seasonal effects in the first quarter, LG’s first-quarter smartphone production volume plummeted by nearly 40 per cent compared to the prior quarter. 

With the latest G6 model, LG’s production volume would reach around 18 million units this second quarter, similar to the same period last year, the report said.