Samsung (005930) was one of the biggest success stories of 2012, and it doesn’t look like the company is slowing down anytime soon. Reuters scored an interview with Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston, who projects that Samsung’s smartphone sales will increase by 35% this year, thus helping the company “slightly extend its lead over Apple (AAPL).” Mawston says the reason Samsung is shipping more smartphones than Apple is simple: It’s all about the variety. From the Galaxy S III mini to the Galaxy Note, Samsung ships smartphones in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to appeal to as broad a range of consumers as possible.
Mawston thinks Apple could retake the initiative some time in the future and release an “iPhone Mini” that would be a cheaper alternative to its iconic smartphone and would hopefully duplicate the success Apple has seen so far with the iPad mini. But for the time being, Mawston notes that the iPhone 5 is still selling very well and that Apple is unlikely to lower its margins on iPhone sales for at least another year.
“We think Apple will have to launch an ‘iPhone Mini’ at some point over the next three years to address the hundreds of millions of prepaid users worldwide that cannot afford the current iPhone,” Mawston tells Reuters. “The iPhone 5 is growing fast and profitably right now, so there is little incentive for Apple to launch an ‘iPhone Mini’ this year.”