A report by Reuters says that market analysts are scrambling to reconsider crowning Samsung’s Galaxy S4 as the king of the smartphone market as sales of Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone are falling short of initial expectations by as much as 30%.
Woori Investment & Securities, one of South Korea’s largest securities firms, cut its outlook for Samsung’s earnings and target share price on June 5. It was the first to adjust its view.
A massive wave of downgrades has since followed, with forecasters including JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs taking a harder look at their assumptions of how well the S4, Samsung’s latest Galaxy smartphone, would actually do.
Samsung holds a huge share of the high-end smartphone market, and this had led some analysts to downplay industry data that showed the segment as quickly becoming saturated. A point often referred to when reporting on “disappointing sales” of Apple’s iPhone 5.
Sales estimates for the S4 have been slashed buy as much as 30%, causing investors to show concerns about Samsung’s mobile device division, which is the company’s biggest profit generator.
Samsung lost nearly $20 billion in market value in a week as shares plunged following the downgrades.
“I’d say most forecasters including myself had this conviction that they’ll outperform again – because it’s Samsung,” said Byun Hanjoon, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities. “They had beaten expectations before, which led many to believe they are bound to excel again with the S4.”
Analysts now believe the high-end smartphone market is slowing, and also say the Galaxy S4 lacks any real “wow factor.”
Most analysts have reduced their estimates for S4 shipments to around 7 million units a month from their previous average expectation of 10 million.