The upcoming Samsung Galaxy S21 will perform slightly better than last years Galaxy S20 but is likely to fail significantly short of Galaxy S10, a new report has claimed, stressing that entry-level pricing needs improvement from S20 series to compete against the iPhone 12 series.
Counterpoint Research’s ‘Model Level Quarterly Smartphone Forecast’ estimated that the Galaxy S21 will ship almost 30 per cent less units over four quarters than 2019’s Galaxy S10.
Samsung will launch its Galaxy S21 Series on January 14 and three new phones are set to be introduced — the S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra.
Several factors have led to this year’s more muted forecasts, including extended replacement cycles, uncertainty around pricing, a more crowded competitive environment and proximity to the iPhone 12 launch.
“Galaxy launch dates over the past two years have crept closer to the iPhone, but prices have not. Last year’s delay from Apple coupled with an accelerated launch from Samsung puts the Galaxy S21 within 12 weeks of the iPhone 12 launch – this is not ideal from a price comparison standpoint,” said Research Analyst Sujeong Lim.
The leaks show the new devices as refreshes of the Galaxy S20, with improvements including faster performance via Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chip, enhanced camera set up, a sleeker design and the possibility of an S Pen.
Better specifications does put the Galaxy S21 at a higher price point, but Lim said Samsung is likely feeling pressure to keep prices as low as possible.
“The iPhone 12 is hitting a massive sweet spot with its $749 entry price. Furthermore, we are now in mid-winter, with the impact of Covid-19 only intensifying across key markets. Pricing will need to improve from S20 levels for Samsung to avoid disappointment,” she commented.
An early Galaxy S21 launch is likely a tactic to capitalise on Huawei woes, with Samsung looking to fill the vacuum.
However, the smartphone space has become very crowded across all segments.
“Not only are Chinese vendors introducing many mid-to-low end devices with competitive specs, they are also releasing more super premium devices. The S10 was competing with around 48 ‘$800-plus’ models in 2018, but the S21 will have to contend with over 65,” Lim informed.
On the other hand, stellar iPhone 12 performance is not only helping Apple have its best iPhone year ever, it is taking the wind out of competitors’ sails by dominating promotions, shelf space and the online space.
“In addition, in the North America market, there is a post-holiday lull of flagship sales in January and February, making it a challenging time to make a significant product launch,” said Jeff Fieldhack, Counterpoint Research’s Director of US Mobile Devices and Carrier Strategies.