Samsung’s U.S. smartphone sales are recovering ahead of schedule

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The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still quite palpable in every corner of the planet, including the world’s most valuable smartphone market – the United States. According to some newly revealed industry data, stateside smartphone sales in the final quarter of 2020 declined 6% compared to the previous year. But at the same time, Samsung’s numbers increased five percentage points.

Had the company not released the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, it likely would have joined the rest of the industry in that quarterly slide, South Korean media reports, citing this week’s insights from Counterpoint Research.

Will Samsung maintain this momentum in Q1 2021?

Samsung’s main rival, Apple, is the only other smartphone manufacturer whose Q4 2020 sales were an improvement over 2019. Naturally, that’s due to the iPhone 12 line which launched in the fall, helping Cupertino’s figures to a 12% annual improvement.

Sequentially, the U.S. smartphone market grew 24% compared to the third quarter. But that’s not exactly a sign of recovery as much as it’s a seasonal effect; the holidays remain the most lucrative period of the year for all manners of consumer discretionary businesses, electronics very much included.

Today’s report paints a clearer picture of what went down during these crucial weeks and is in line with previous estimates from market watchers. Though Samsung’s ahead-of-schedule recovery is being attributed to the Galaxy S20 FE, the early release of the Galaxy S21 series might be enough for it to maintain this momentum throughout winter.

Initial reports on Galaxy S21 sales seem to point toward that outcome, as well. Though it’s still too early for US-specific data.

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