SEOUL - Samsung Electronics will aim for 20 percent growth in smartphone sales next year, the most conservative figure set since it started the business, as it focuses on the growing tablet market, industry sources said.
Samsung's information technology and mobile communications division reportedly set next year's sales target of smartphones at 360 million units, a 20 percent increase from this year. Its tablet sales are expected to jump to 100 million from this year's estimated 40 million units.
"Samsung's smartphone growth has been so far much higher than the market growth, but next year it will see a similar level of growth at 20 percent. Instead, the company will allocate its resources to the growing tablet market," said John Seo, an analyst at Seoul-based Shinhan Investment Corp.
"As smartphone parts like dynamic random access memory, NAND flash, and display panels are still used for tablets, just in a bigger size, the transition is still a good sign for the company's overall mobile sector," he added.
An industry source said Samsung will turn to mid- and low-end smartphones next year due to lower-than-expected sales of the Galaxy S4. Samsung's sales target for high-end phones is reportedly 126 million units for 2014, accounting for 35 percent of the total.
On concerns that the transition would narrow its margin, NH Investment & Securities Co. analyst Lee Seon-tae said, "Samsung will still see a rise in profit though the margin rate may drop. The high-end products will still generate the same level of profits as last year, though growth is small and sales of low-end products are also not declining."
According to research firm Gartner, next year's global smartphone shipments are expected to grow 20 percent to 1.1 billion units. IDC predicted that global tablet shipments would see 22 percent growth to 271 million units.