The world’s greatest smartphone vendor, Samsung Electronics Co in full, warned on Wednesday of a big drop in cell earnings in the second quarter, as recession fears dampen demand for high-end fashions and carriers in main markets delay the rollouts of quick 5G networks.
The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting all distributors onerous. But Samsung’s technique of specializing in 5G in superior markets like Europe and the United States – it captured practically three-quarters of world 5G phone gross sales final yr – plus dwindling market share in some rising markets may put it in a deeper quagmire.
By distinction, American arch-rival Apple Inc now appears higher positioned as China, which accounts for roughly 15 p.c of its revenues has reopened outlets.
By distinction, the reopening has had restricted upside for Samsung as the nation accounts for a small fraction of its enterprise; it doesn’t get away China income, but it surely accounts for lower than 1 p.c of its phone shipments.
Apple, whose lack of a 5G mannequin has been seen as a key drawback versus Samsung, has additionally launched a brand new finances iPhone SE mannequin that many analysts predict will show widespread amongst customers in a recession.
The California-based tech large stories quarterly outcomes on Thursday.
Samsung’s complete smartphone shipments fell by 18 p.c in the primary quarter from a yr earlier. But a better proportion of premium and 5G phone shipments, as effectively as decrease advertising and marketing prices, helped earnings rise 17 p.c at its cell division, which incorporates phones and cell community gear.
Profits had been resilient in first quarter when the trade affect from COVID-19 was largely all the way down to the outbreak in China, analysts stated. However the corporate faces deep ache in the second quarter which is able to present the hit to its enterprise from the unfold of the virus in Europe and the United States, its strongholds for premium phones, they added.
“The problem is Samsung’s mobile business will be really bad,” stated Park Sung-soon, an analyst at Cape Investment & Securities. “It will recover in the second half, but not as strongly as Apple.”
Lee Jong-min, a Samsung vp, touched on the difficulties on Wednesday.
“Although there are signs that the spread of the coronavirus in North America and Europe is slowing down, it is too soon to be relieved,” he advised analysts. “Also, as it takes some time for the economy to recover, it is difficult to forecast how much of a demand drop we will see in the second quarter.”
Samsung stated the deployment of 5G networks had been being delayed in India, the United States and Europe due to lockdown measures.
In China, it expects a lift in 5G spending as a consequence of authorities stimulus measures, however analysts say the insurance policies will profit native rivals such as Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi Corp extra.
In India, the place smartphone shipments jumped 12 p.c in the primary quarter regardless of the affect of a nationwide lockdown in the ultimate week of March, Samsung additional ceded market share, changing into No.three vendor after China’s Xiaomi and Vivo.
Samsung is about to face additional competitors in these two markets, not simply from Chinese rivals but in addition Apple, which launched lower-priced $749 SE mannequin this month.
Samsung’s CEO Koh Dong-jin stated in late March that it aimed to reclaim its No.1 place in India by providing a wider vary of fashions. The firm additionally plans to spice up gross sales of premium fashions in China, he added, describing its sluggish gross sales there as “heartbreaking”.
Samsung stated on Wednesday it might additionally increase choices of mid and lower-end 5G fashions globally, whereas launching new premium fashions as scheduled in the second half of the yr, together with the Note and a foldable phone.
Some analysts are nonetheless nervous in regards to the firm’s prospects this yr.
“While I am concerned about overall mobile demand, I am more worried about (Samsung’s) flagship phones, as the chances they will sell well in advanced markets are fading,” stated Kim Ro-ko, at Hana Financial Investment.
(Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Pravin Char)