Samsung announced it has sold over five million Galaxy S2 smartphones to date, a bright spot in its struggle against rival Apple for mobile supremacy.
The South Korean company reports high sales even after staggering the device’s release across several months and continents. A fairly recent handset, Samsung aims to sell at least 10 million units of the Galaxy S2 in 120 countries by the end of the year.
“Since being launched into the retail market in late April, the Galaxy S II has seen tremendous growth,” said J.K. Shin, Samsung’s head of mobile communications business.
In fact, Samsung has seen major growth all around, selling between 18 to 21 million smartphones globally in the second quarter, compared to Nokia’s 17 million and Apple’s 20 million iPhones. If this pattern continues, it may surpass Apple’s sales in the long run.
The Galaxy S2 hit stores in China this week and is set to debut in the U.S. next month, which may ramp up sales even more. The addition of two more major markets may give it a boost, but it may still fall behind Apple’s figures after the iPhone 5′s release this fall. With both products arriving in the U.S. around the same time, and the much-anticipated next generation Apple phone predicted to double sales, Samsung’s competition is sure to be fierce.
Samsung also must contend with other issues before it can claim equal footing with Apple. TechCrunch yesterday reported that people return Android devices at a rate of 30 to 40 percent because of interface difficulties. Samsung’s sales may not necessarily reflect consumer satisfaction, unlike Apple’s, since 98 percent of iPhone owners hang onto their devices.
Beyond sales figures, lawsuits may cut short Samsung’s dream of putting 10 million devices on the global market. Apple and Samsung are battling each other in court since April over mutually alleged patent infringement, and now the International Trade Commission must decide whether to ban either company’s products in the U.S.
If the ITC rules in Apple’s favor, Samsung may not be able to sell the Galaxy S2 in the states, which would put a large dent in its sales and profits. And even if the ITC decides not to ban either company’s devices, the two may end up settling outside of court, which may find Samsung paying Apple royalties.
The Galaxy S2 has momentum now, but legal issues and increased competition may clip its momentum in the long term.
But, even if it has trouble breaking into U.S. markets, the Korean company’s worldwide sales may be a sign that Apple is right to fear it as a competitor.