Samsung is still hurting from the smartphone slowdown — and its flashy, new Galaxy S10 lineup couldn't quite turn things around.
The company on Thursday said it expects to report first-quarter sales of about 52 trillion Korean won ($45.8 billion), 14% lower than last year's first-quarter revenue of 60.6 trillion won ($53.3 billion). And its profit should total 6.2 trillion won ($5.5 billion), 60% below the first quarter of 2018's profit of 15.6 trillion won ($13.7 billion).
Samsung, as usual, didn't provide any commentary with its guidance. It'll give more details when it reports full results later this month.
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When reporting fourth-quarter results in January, Samsung said nearly its entire business was hurt by a slowdown in the smartphone market. Most of its businesses, from chips to displays, felt the effects of stronger competition and weaker demand in the handset sector. Its smartphone sales declined, memory chips destined for handsets didn't sell as well, and its mobile displays suffered.
It's become harder for handset vendors to make huge changes in their devices and differentiate from one another. Prices for the latest and greatest phones have actually increased at the same time US carriers have gotten rid of subsidies. All of that has meant people are waiting longer to upgrade.
In January, Samsung said the smartphone sluggishness would continue. It said it expected demand for smartphones and tablets to drop in the first quarter because of a seasonal slowdown. But it also had some hope for the Galaxy S10.
The Galaxy S10, which has three 4G models and a fourth 5G variant, arrived in stores in early March. The three higher-end models include an in-screen fingerprint reader and more camera lenses than their predecessors. All have dynamic AMOLED screens and Samsung's new Infinity-O Display that fills even more of the device's front. There's still no notch for the camera but instead a "punch hole" for the front lens. You can charge other devices, like Samsung's Galaxy Buds, by placing them on the back of the phones, and they all boast faster Wi-Fi 6.
Samsung's second-quarter guidance could give a better indication of how well the Galaxy S10 has sold. The first quarter included only about a month of the lineup's sales.