Samsung's new flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone is selling rapidly in its home market, hinting at a fast recovery there from the Note 7 fiasco last year. But outside South Korea the phones aren't selling as expected, an analyst said.
The Note 7 was banned and its production ceased last October worldwide following a series of fire incidents caused by two different battery issues. The South Korean technology major is betting on its latest premium Galaxy handsets, which went on sale on 21 April, to build back consumer trust.
The S8 has been well accepted in its home market, where the company has so far sold 1 million S8 and S8+ smartphones, which sport a bezel-less design and ship with new features like the Bixby voice assistant.
"Samsung must be glad that the new phone has not caused any big trouble like the Note 7 battery problem," Kim Young-woo, an analyst at SK Securities, told Financial Times. There seems to be no worry about its quality."
But the phones are not selling that well abroad. "Its domestic performance is very good while its overseas sales have been similar to those of its predecessors. There seem to be many consumers overseas waiting for the new iPhone launch," said Kim.
Analysts say Samsung has sold five million S8 units globally within three weeks of the launch, and the new handset is expected to outsell its predecessor S7, which had shipped 48.5 million in its first year.
Kim estimates the S8 has sold about eight million units worldwide but expects global sales to reach 45 million this year, contrary to other analysts's predictions. He expects the launch of the new iPhone could sap the appetite for the Samsung flagship devices.
Recently Samsung released the S8 in the Chinese market with a clutch of market-exclusive features and enhanced UX, which the company claims would suit the lifestyle of its consumers in the country. It rolled out the S8 in India earlier this month. Sales figures for both countries are not yet available.
Samsung's market share
According to market research firm Gartner, although Samsung remains the world's largest smartphone manufacturer, its market share dropped to 20.7% in the first quarter from 23.3% in the same period last year.
The company is the only top-five smartphone maker to report a decline in shipments in the first quarter of this year. Its smartphone shipments fell to 78 million from 81 million, a decline attributed to the Note 7 debacle and stiff competition from Chinese manufacturers.
Samsung, however, posted its best quarterly profit in the first three months of this year. Analysts expect Samsung to report about won 50 trillion in profit for 2017, with about 70% contributed by memory chips and display panels.