Samsung hit by slowing smartphone sales
Samsung said it is on track to post its second straight quarter of profit decline, as slowing smartphone sales growth continued to weigh on earnings.
The handset maker estimated that its January-March operating profit fell by 4.3% to 8.4 trillion won (£4.8 billion).
The world’s biggest smartphone maker is counting on the fifth version of its flagship Galaxy S smartphone, which goes on sale globally from Friday, to right the ship and prove the firm’s staying power as a mobile innovator.
But the Galaxy S5 has already got off to a weak start at home, with its South Korean debut marred by a temporary ban on mobile carriers selling handsets and criticism that it lacks eye-catching new features.
Underscoring the challenges, Samsung priced the S5 about 10% cheaper than the S4 even though main rival Apple is not widely expected to update its line-up until September. It also dialed back on marketing glitz to keep margins stable.
Analysts said the company’s efforts to rein in component costs and make products that appeal to a wider audience will be crucial as Samsung braces for what could be its first annual profit decline in three years.
“What Samsung needs to do this year for additional growth are things like cost reduction and reducing marketing costs,” HMC Investment and Securities analyst Greg Roh said.
“In some sense, Samsung has no way to prevent a decline in its earnings without improving internal efficiencies.”
Samsung estimated its first-quarter sales at 53 trillion won, compared with a market forecast of 54.58 trillion won. Full quarterly results are likely to be announced by 25 April.