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Samsung set to extend lead over smartphone sales against Apple, says Strategy Analytics

FILE NETHERLANDS ECONOMY APPLE SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB 10.1Strategy Analytics told Reuters on Friday that Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is forecast to surge ahead of the competition by 35 percent growth in the lucrative smartphone market this year, especially against its main rival Apple Inc.

According to Strategy Analytics, Apple can return the favor by releasing a smaller and cheaper “iPhone Mini” next year to increase its market share by offering a new product to users of  lower-end smartphones.

Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston emailed Reuters and said: “We expect Samsung to slightly extend its lead over Apple this year because of its larger multitier product portfolio.”

Mawson also predicted that total worldwide sales for smartphones for 2013 will increase by 27 percent, translating to 875 million units, a significant drop from last year’s 41 percent increase when markets from China, North America, Western Europe, and other develop countries in Asia went on buying spree. The 27 percent jump is still a formidable figure though, according to Mawston.

It is estimated that the South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd will sell around 290 million smatphone units this year, showing a big increase in unit sales from last year’s sales figures of 215 million. Apple smartphone sales is also expected to rise to reach 180 million units for 2013, an increase of 33 percent from last year and following Samsung’s slight lead at 35 percent.

The estimates of Strategy Analytics will give Samsung a 33 percent market share for global smartphone sales, an increase of 2 percent, while Apple will have a 1 percent rise from last year’s 20 percent of worldwide market share.

Samsung and Apple have fought a bitter battle in their attempt to dominate the fiercely competitive smartphone market around the world. Samsung is a supplier to Apple.

The South Korean smartphone maker is rumored to launch a new Galaxy S IV, the most recent smartphone in its vaunted Galaxy series, this coming April.  Galaxy Note III phablet and a few other series of new smartphones will also be released throughout the course of the year, said some analysts and media reports.

“Samsung plays in more segments and this should enable it to capture more volume than Apple (assuming Apple does not launch an ‘iPhone Mini’ this year),” said Mawston.

Topeka Capital Markets researcher Brian J. White also raised the possibility that the Cupertino giant may release a lower-priced iPhone-dubbed iPhone Mini- to bring its brand further to markets like India and China.

White also mentioned that Apple may launch the next iPhone, called the iPhone 5S, this coming May or June, featuring more options in sizes in terms of displays. Such move can open a possibility of for a launch of the iPhone Mini, White said.

However, Mawston said that the iPhone Mini may be expected in 2014, not this year.

Mawston said: “We think Apple will have to launch an ‘iPhone Mini’ at some point over the next three years to address the hundreds of millions of prepaid users worldwide that cannot afford the current iPhone. We expect the iPhone Mini to be more likely next year, in 2014 when … Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth streams.

Samsung Electronics once trailed Apple Inc in the smartphone market, but has since then surpassed several of its rivals to become the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer.

source: reuters