Samsung is expected to post its Q1 earnings guidance next week but preliminary data from market analysts cited by Yonhap News looks promising already. Industry watchers expect Samsung's robust earnings from the mobile business to have balanced out the company's poor performance in the semiconductor space.
Analysts predict the company will record 60.64 trillion won ($53.7 billion) in sales, representing a 10.9% year-on-year increase. At the same time, operating profits are estimated to increase by a whopping 38.8% year-on-year and top 8.95 trillion won ($7.92 billion).
Galaxy S21 series comes to the rescue
The early launch of the Galaxy S21 series appears to have had a positive ripple effect across the company's multiple divisions. Not only is Samsung expected to post strong Galaxy S21 sales figures for Q1, but the flagship's early launch has also bolstered the OLED business throughout the first quarter of the year.
Similarly, the launch if the iPhone 12 series — equipped with Samsung Display's OLED solutions — should have contributed to robust OLED results as well, even though sluggish iPhone 12 mini sales have reportedly caused a 9% decrease in OLED panel shipments in January. And speaking of, industry watchers expect Samsung Display's profits to increase even further in Q2 if Apple will be forced to pay a penalty for buying fewer OLED panels that it has initially ordered.
Average smartphone selling prices are expected to have risen in Q1
Market watchers estimate that Samsung's total smartphone shipments in Q1 should have reached around 75 million units, up 20.4% quarter-on-quarter. Interestingly enough, analysts also believe that Samsung's average selling price for mobile products may have risen by 27.1% quarter-on-quarter.
Semiconductors: Win some, lose some
Analysts believe that increased DRAM prices have helped Samsung's memory business, but on the other hand, the company's logic chip and foundry divisions may have taken a big hit on the back of its factory in Austin Texas shutting down for weeks. It may have cost the company more than 300 billion won ($265 million).
The good news is that Samsung's earnings are expected to improve from Q1 to Q2 as its semiconductor business recovers and the Austin facility resumes operations later this month. In addition, Samsung will continue to benefit from increased memory chip prices.
Likewise, researchers believe that NAND flash contract prices are expected to increase by 3-8% in Q2, while DRAM prices are likely to rise by 13-18% QoQ during the same three-month period.