A slump of the global smartphone market is compelling the smartphone industry to respond to it by adjusting the launch date of new products among others. This is because smartphone makers can avoid direct competition with their competitors as much as possible and pare down marketing costs by adjusting such launch dates.
According to the smartphone industry on May 22, Samsung Electronics is planning to release the Galaxy Note 9, a strategic premium smartphone for the second half of this year, in July or August.
Samsung Electronics officially took the wrap off its Galaxy Note 8 last year in New York on August 23 (local time). The Galaxy Note 8 was launched in Korea on September 12, about three weeks after its launch event. This year, the Galaxy Note 9 is expected to have its official unpacking event late July or early August and hit the market around the end of August. Some experts predict that Samsung Electronics will release the Galaxy Note 9 early and launch a foldable smartphone early next year.
"A longer global smartphone replacement cycle is sparking off a drop in smartphone sales," said an industry expert. "Since the launch of a new product creates shorter new product effects than in the past, major smartphone makers such as Samsung Electronics and Apple aim to garner more attention by advancing the launch of their next products."
In response to this move by Samsung, Apple is likely to move up time to launch its next product and supply it in the market soon. Last year, Apple unveiled the iPhone 8 in the US on September 12 (local time). The new iPhone was first released in some countries on September 22, ten days later. Apple, in particular, took the wrap off the iPhone X in honor of the tenth anniversary of the iPhone along with the iPhone 8 last year. Apple pitted the two iPhone models against the Galaxy Note 8.
Nonetheless, iPhone sales slowed down recently. In the first quarter, the iPhone sales ran to 52.22 million units, down 32% from the previous quarter and up only 3% from the same period of last year. It is disappointing considering that the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 hit the shelves together.
As a result, Apple is highly likely to respond with a counterattack as it has been said that Samsung Electronics will disclose and release the Galaxy Note 9 earlier this year.
Meanwhile, the global smartphone market has entered a downturn. According to market researcher Bay Street Research, the average smartphone replacement cycle has expanded by eight months from 23 months in 2014 to 31 months now. The cycle is expected to rise to hit 33 months next year. Even if new smartphones come out, innovation that can catch the eyes of people is hard to find and consumers do not feel the need to change their smartphones as smartphone quality has improved enough.
According to Counterpoint Research, smartphone shipments in China, the world's largest smartphone market, fell 8% year on year and 21% quarter on quarter in the first quarter, respectively. The Chinese smartphone market has stagnated because consumers have used their smartphones longer than in the past, without feeling the need to dump them for new models.