With the Galaxy S8 launch date rapidly approaching and mesmerizing allure of the iPhone 7 beginning to fade, many analysts expect Samsung to spend a good chunk of 2017 growing its user base as much as it can before the next-generation iPhone 8 hits this fall. According to the market analysis gurus at TrendForce, Samsung already beat Apple in Q1 2017 after briefly losing its lead during the holiday quarter. Most interestingly, of course, Samsung did it without the S8’s help, and with the taste of exploding Note 7s still fresh in its mouth.
Fresh off a successful Q4 2016 with the iPhone 7, Apple fell behind Samsung in Q1 2017 smartphone shipments driven largely by the success of Samsung’s Galaxy J series of mid-range smartphones. As TrendForce notes, the strong sales of the Galaxy J line helped Samsung become the only smartphone brand to post a bump in volume in Q1, and gave it the edge it needed to best Apple.
But as encouraging as that news might be for Samsung — especially in the wake of one of the worst PR disasters any smartphone brand has ever had to endure — the coming months could prove to be more difficult, despite the S8’s appeal. TrendForce warns that as the much anticipated 10th anniversary of the iPhone approaches, and with it the hype of whatever Apple might have planned, demand for other smartphones could wane significantly:
Major brands such as Samsung, LG and Huawei have begun to ship their flagship devices for the year, but the market demand going into the second quarter is expected to remain relatively weak as consumers are holding off their purchases in anticipation of the 10th anniversary iPhone devices that will arrive in the third quarter. Smartphone sales will be fairly lackluster until the second half of this year. TrendForce estimates that the global smartphone production volume for this second quarter will register a modest single-digit growth versus the preceding three-month period.
We’ll have to wait and see if the already stellar reception of the Galaxy S8 is enough to keep Samsung on the upward trend, even in the face of unmatched iPhone excitement.