Samsung says sales of S23 smartphones ahead of S22, with most people buying most expensive ‘Ultra’ model


Samsung said 60% of pre-orders for the Galaxy S23 smartphone series were for the S23 Ultra, the most expensive device in the lineup. Samsung is looking for double-digit growth for its premium, more expensive smartphones in 2023.

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BARCELONA, Spain — Sale of from Samsung The Galaxy S23 flagship smartphone has surpassed last year’s S22 in a comparative period, with the majority of buyers opting for the most expensive version of the device, an executive of the South Korean tech giant told CNBC.

Samsung launched the Galaxy S23 this month. The series consists of three models: the standard S23, a slightly more expensive S23+ and the top class S23 Ultra. The S23 Ultra starts at $1,200.

Patrick Chomet, executive vice president at Samsung Electronics, told CNBC in an interview that compared to last year, sales of the S23 are much better than the S22 so far. The S23 went on sale on February 17.

Chomet added that Samsung is committed to “double-digit growth” in the premium segment of its smartphones by 2023, which includes the Galaxy S23 series but also its latest foldable phones launched last year.

“So we’re in the premium segment, despite the tough economic climate, we see a steady opportunity ahead of us. And the reason is we’re very competitive, because we’ve brought a lot of innovation to that segment,” Chomet said in an interview on the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday.

Chomet revealed that the most expensive version of the flagship phones – the S23 Ultra – accounted for about 60% of global S23 pre-orders.

“We expect, more or less, a healthy portion of the mix to tend toward the premium,” Chomet said.

The first sales of the S23 will be welcome news for Samsung, which had a rough year in the smartphone market in 2022. According to research firm IDC, total smartphone shipments last year posted their worst year since 2013. Samsung shipments fell by more than 15%, IDC said. The slump was driven by inflation and a deteriorating outlook for the economy.

Operating profit in the company’s mobile and network businesses fell 16% year-over-year in 2022.

But expensive smartphones are still in demand. High-end smartphones, costing more than $800, accounted for 18% of the total handset market in 2022, up from 11% in 2020, Canalys data shows.

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That’s where Samsung hopes to grow its smartphone business, potentially offering the company higher margins and better profits.

Chomet said the higher S23 Ultra pre-order rate is an “indication that while people are more cautious” in the premium segment of the smartphone market, there are still a lot of people “who want the best of the best.”

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