Samsung expects COVID-19 to hurt smartphone and TV sales, but increase demand for memory
In its first-quarter earnings report today, Samsung said it expects the COVID-19 pandemic to continue impacting its business for the rest of the year, cutting into sales for smartphones and TVs, but increasing demand for PCs, servers and memory chips as people continue to work or study from home.
Samsung’s results for the first-quarter of 2020 was in line with the guidance it released earlier this month. Operating profit was 6.45 trillion Korean won (about $5.3 billion). Revenue fell about 7.6% from the previous quarter to 55.33 trillion won, due to a seasonal drop in demand for displays and consumer electronics, and the impact of the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused more than 3 million confirmed cases around the world and more than 217,000 deaths, and resulted in shelter-in-place orders in countries around the world and a global recession.
Samsung said that because the pandemic’s impact through the second half of 2020 remains uncertain, it plans to make flexible investments and adjust its product mix to adapt. Because it expects competition among manufacturers to increase as they try to recover from a weak first half, Samsung said it will continue to launch premium products like a new foldable and Note devices, and expand 5G to more mass-market smartphones.
Samsung’s display panel business saw a decline in earnings during the first quarter due to weak seasonality and lower sales in China during COVID-19 shutdowns, and it expects demand to continue being impacted by the pandemic and postponement of major sporting events like the Summer Olympics.
On the other hand, Samsung expects to see solid performance in its memory business as remote work, online education, online shopping and streaming entertainment services continue putting more demands on cloud providers and data centers. As a result, Samsung will speed up its transition to 1Z-nm DRAM and 6th-generation V-NAND flash memory.
Samsung also said it plans to offset store and plant closures around the world through flexible supply networks, improving its online sales capabilities, and tailoring promotions and logistics for different market.