Samsung may not have the hold over the Android smartphone world it once did. A report in the Wall Street Journal states the company has sold 40 percent fewer Galaxy S5 smartphones than the previous Galaxy S4 model. Current CEO JK Shin had high hopes for the S5, and ordered 20 percent more models to be produced than the S4, many of which are filling warehouses due to lower than expected sales.
Launched at Mobile World Congress back in February, we noted the Galaxy S5 didn’t break new ground, but did come with a selection of desirable features, including a water resistant body and a much improved user interface. However, it was soon trumped by the high-tech LG G3, and the all-metal HTC One M8.
Poor S5 sales aren’t a surprise. Samsung spent much of 2013 boasting about Galaxy S4 sales, which reached a record-breaking 40 million after six months, but the firm has stayed quiet about the S5 since May. At the time, Shin said S5 sales were stronger than the S4. The Journal’s report didn’t mention sales figures, but did state the U.S. was the one international market where the S5 has outsold the S4. However, sales in China are apparently half of previous Galaxy S phones.
Management to answer for poor sales
The Galaxy S5’s lackluster performance may prompt a management reshuffle, and if the WSJ’s sources are correct, CEO JK Shin could be replaced by Boo-Keun Yoon who currently leads Samsung’s home and television divisions. This hasn’t been confirmed by Samsung. The news comes after reports the company will produce fewer smartphone models next year, and will look at cutting edge tech such as curved screens to make its expensive hardware more desirable. At the end of October, Samsung’s mobile division reported its lowest profit for three years, and at the time said “high-end smartphone sales” were primarily to blame.
Local reports from Korea say Samsung will slowly close down its ChatOn mobile messaging platform, again due to falling profits. Unnamed officials told the Korea Herald Samsung would “exit from the mobile messaging market from region-to-region as part of corporate strategy to restructure unprofitable businesses.” ChatOn is available in more than 120 countries, and at its peak attracted 100 million users.
Analysts predict strong end of year for Apple
In related news, analysts are predicting strong sales results from Apple at the end of the year. KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo’s research shows Apple is on target to ship more than 71 million iPhone models over the final three months of the year, 56 million of which will be the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Interestingly, splitting that figure down further shows the iPhone 6 taking 41 million of those sales, leaving 15 million for the larger iPhone 6 Plus. Moving into next year, Kuo sees the initially high numbers falling to just over 31 million sales for the two new models combined, and slightly under 50 million overall.