The Korea Herald


Samsung's Q4 smartphone sales rise in US: report

By Yonhap

Published : Feb. 4, 2021 - 11:15

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Samsung's Galaxy S20 FE(Samsung Electronics Co.) Samsung's Galaxy S20 FE(Samsung Electronics Co.)
Samsung Electronics Co.'s smartphone sales in the United States rose in the fourth quarter of 2020 on the back of its budget flagship model, a report showed Thursday, despite overall market decline.

Samsung and Apple Inc. were the only smartphone makers to post sales growth in the United States in the last three months of 2020, according to market researcher Counterpoint Research.

The South Korean tech giant saw 5 percent on-year growth in its US smartphone sales in the fourth quarter, while Apple posted 14 percent on-year growth on its home turf, the market researcher said.

Both Samsung and Apple bucked the overall US smartphone market's 6 percent on-year decline in the October-December period.

"Q4 2020 was a particularly challenging quarter for many OEMs, especially those who manufacture devices for the prepaid and lower price band markets," said Jeff Fieldhack, a director at Counterpoint Research, using an abbreviation for original equipment manufacturers. "On the other hand, premium devices did well in the quarter. There was a pent-up demand in the higher price bands as customers spent some of their savings on new gadgets during the holiday period."

While Apple saw robust sales of its first 5G smartphone, the iPhone 12, Samsung's performance was apparently led by the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (FE) 5G, the budget model of its flagship S20 series, Counterpoint Research said.

"The OEM (Samsung) even launched a 256GB variant in the quarter to meet further demand from customers looking to buy a sub-$1,000 device," said Hanish Bhatia, a senior analyst at Counterpoint Research. "Especially during this COVID-19 period, customers are looking to spend less money, but still want specifications of flagship devices."

But when it comes to yearly sales, both Samsung and Apple posted negative growth in the United States last year, the market researcher added.

In 2020, Samsung's smartphone sales were down 5 percent from a year ago, while Apple's sell-through was down 3 percent from a year earlier, its data showed.

South Korea's LG Electronics Inc. saw its sales drop 19 percent in 2020, while Motorola Inc. suffered a 57 percent decline in its sales.

China's OnePlus was the only smartphone brand that posted sales growth in the United States last year, while the overall smartphone market declined 15 percent year-on-year, Counterpoint Research added.

The market tracker said that Samsung is likely to have a difficult time against Apple in the US in early 2021 despite the release of its new flagship smartphone series, the Galaxy S21.

"The launch of new Samsung Galaxy S21 addresses the pricing issue as each device is $200 less expensive than the S20 series," it said. "However, January and February tend to be a lull in the market, and with Apple's current momentum, there will be less opportunities for Samsung to capitalize on." (Yonhap)