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Samsung aims to ship 500 million handsets this year

According to sources in the industry's supply chain Samsung is aiming to reach a massive 500 million handset shipments come the end of 2013. But is this really an achievable goal?
April 3, 2013

At this point we all know that Samsung has every right to be ambitious this year, after all the company owns a significant share of the smartphone market and is way out in front when it comes to handset sales. But according to sources in the industry’s supply chain Samsung wants to push out even further ahead this year and is aiming to reach a massive 500 million handset shipments come the end of 2013.

The key word there is handsets; Samsung sells a wide variety of phones, and although its smartphones are incredibly popular, the company is selling a lot of budget and mid-level handsets in emerging markets like China. In fact China-based panel maker BOE ships out approximately 10 million panels each month for Samsung’s entry-level and mid-range phones, and that’s just data from one of Samsung’s many budget panel suppliers. Then there are also high-end parts from Sharp, Japan Display, and Samsung Display to add on top of all that, so the 500 million figure certainly seems achievable.

However if Samsung is to reach this target it’s going to have to further improve on its already impressive sales performance. Last year Samsung managed to ship a very healthy 384 million handsets (according to Gartner), but a jump to 500 million is going to require a huge 30% increase in world wide shipments.

Worldwide Handset Sales 2012 and 2011

To put this in perspective, Samsung accumulated 315 million mobile phone sales in 2011, and managed to improve that by 22% (an increase of 68 million units) by the end of 2012.

A further 30% increase to reach 500 million total shipments is an ambitious target and would be a record performance figure for Samsung and the wider mobile phone industry.  But note that the total mobile market has been pretty flat over the past few years, so these sales targets are going to have to come at the expense of Samsung’s competitors. If Samsung can even come close to this target it will definitely cement Samsung’s already huge lead over its Android competitors in terms of total unit shipments.

500 million is certainly an optimistic figure, but then Samsung has a lot of reasons to be optimistic. The Galaxy S4 is already taking huge pre-order numbers and is set to be one of the best selling handsets of all time. Combine that with a huge product line-up which is available worldwide and can fit virtually any budget, then it certainly looks possible.

If anyone can break the half a billion mark it’s going to be Samsung.