Samsung slips out of top three in 5G smartphone sales race
South Korean electronics giant, Samsung, reported its Q1 results over the weekend and, at first glance, things are looking good. Propelled by the successful launch of the 5G-enabled, , the company managed to increase the number of 5G phones shipped in Q1 by 105% year-on-year.
Good as this may be, Samsung’s competitors overseas have done better. From the US, Apple dominated 5G smartphone sales in Q1, with shipments totalling more than 40.4mn devices in the first quarter of the year.
"Apple's iPhone 12 5G is proving wildly popular across China, Europe and the United States, due to its sleek hardware design and surprisingly competitive pricing," a spokesperson for Apple said late last month.
At the same time, even as Huawei’s star continues to fade, other Chinese brands have been growing in leaps and bounds. Oppo managed to more than double its market share in Q1, from 7.1% to more than 16%.
Vivo (also a subsidiary of BBK Electronics) managed some truly astonishing growth figures as well, growing its 5G device shipments by 646% year-on-year.
As such, the rankings are as follows:
Apple increased its market share to 30.2% and shipped 40.4mn phones.
Oppo grew its market share to 16.1% and shipped 21.5mn handsets.
Vivo grew its share to 14.5% and shipped 21.5mn units.
And Samsung - even with 105% growth - fell to fourth position, shipping just 17mn devices, which gives it a market share of 12.7%, down from 34.6% just a year ago.
Why the decline?
These figures probably aren’t any huge cause for concern in the Samsung Boardroom. The main reason why Samsung’s share of the market this time last year was so much bigger is because the market was a lot less crowded.
Samsung was one of the first companies to launch a premium 5G smartphone with the Galaxy S10 5G back in February of 2019 (some sources point to the modified Moto Z3 with a 5G modification bolted onto it - but the S10 was the first widely-available handset that could give you 5G connectivity right out of the box) and has enjoyed almost a full two years of being well ahead of the curve.
Now, of course, Apple’s insanely popular iPhone 12 - as well as cheaper Chinese 5G phones - are pushing mass consumer adoption around the world and, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Samsung’s has been enough to stand against the tide.
Samsung has also faced issues - largely the result of strong competition from cheaper brands - in markets where 5G penetration is lower. Last month, new data from Counterpoint Research found that the South Korean firm has been (a subsidiary of the Chinese company Transsion Holdings) as the number one smartphone seller in Africa.
"The surge in the 5G volume in China, allied with the Apple factor, inevitably had a negative impact on Samsung's share despite impressive product diversity from Samsung in 5G," said Woody Oh, a director at Strategy Analytics.
Microsoft: Inspiring women in tech
Microsoft is partnering with Telia in Finland to deliver an evolving customer experience; one made up of rich H2H (human-to-human) interactions. “We need to stay relevant with our customers with the right message on the right channel and at the right moment,” says Microsoft Finland’s CMO Janina Backlund. “The values a company represents are having a growing impact on this scenario.”
How those values are communicated is very important, believes Backlund. “You can't simply copy/paste value messages on top of something. They need to be authentic so you go to market in a way that matters to the audience you want to engage with. And those values need to be lived upon in the company’s everyday life; we really need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.”
Surface the Women
Microsoft has been running its #SurfaceTheWomen campaign for three years now; in tune with Telia’s aim to have 40% of its leadership roles allocated to women by 2023. “Gender equality is a conversation that needs to progress. Diversity and inclusion are written into our DNA at Microsoft,” explains Backlund. “These are core values grounding the way we develop our technology which needs to be accessible for everybody. Microsoft’s offering needs to represent the diverse audiences we aim to serve. This extends all the way to the teams we recruit; which must represent those same customers. It's difficult to create innovations that are actually meaningful for our end users if we don't make sure the teams developing them are diverse and value inclusion.”
Women in Tech
“#SurfaceTheWomen has given women in tech a platform and a voice to tell their stories,” adds Backlund. “It can open the industry for other women. For example, this year, we were very much focusing on the different myths that are related to the industry from a female perspective. We’re tackling the misconception that you need to have a certain kind of background to be able to build a career in tech. Women can come from all walks of life and #SurfaceTheWomen provides the opportunity to tell that story, share the backgrounds they have and talk about their career in technology. Ultimately, we aim to inspire other women to make that leap forward with their careers in tech.”
“Our partnership with Microsoft is very important to us. They offer us a strong foundation for digital services and modern, digital workplace solutions and to our customers. Customer expectations in this kind of environment (the global pandemic) are all about employee productivity and satisfaction. We are also very focused on data security and our IT assets. Microsoft workplace solutions combined with our offering enables us to offer customers services that help them improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction.”
Kirsi Kantele, HR Director, Telia