Samsung said 60% of pre-orders for the Galaxy S23 series of smartphones were for the S23 Ultra, the most expensive device in the line. In 2023, Samsung expects to see double-digit growth in its higher-priced premium smartphones.

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BARCELONA, Spain — Sales from Samsung The Galaxy S23 flagship smartphone outsold last year’s S22 over the comparable period, with most buyers opting for the most expensive version of the device, an executive from the South Korean tech giant told CNBC.

Samsung released the Galaxy S23 this month. There are three models in the series: the standard S23, the slightly more expensive S23+, and the top-of-the-line S23 Ultra. The S23 Ultra starts at $1,200.

Patrick Chomet, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics, told CNBC that compared to last year, sales of the S23 are much better than the S22. 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 in 2023, which includes the Galaxy S23 series, as well as its latest foldable phones that were released last year.

“So we are in the premium segment, despite the difficult economic conditions, we see stable opportunities for us. And the reason we’re very competitive is because we’ve brought a lot of innovation to this segment,” Chomet said in an interview. at 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 a healthy portion of the mix to be skewed toward premium,” Chomet said.

The first sales of the S23 will be welcome news for Samsung, which has had a tough year in the smartphone market in 2022. Last year’s total smartphone shipments were the worst since 2013, according to research firm IDC. Samsung shipments fell by more than 15%, according to IDC. The recession was linked to inflation and a worsening economic outlook.

Operating profit in the company’s mobile and network business fell 16% compared to the same period in 2022.

But the demand for expensive smartphones is still there. High-end smartphones costing more than $800 will account for 18% of the total phone market in 2022, up from 11% in 2020, Canalys data shows.

This is where Samsung hopes to grow its smartphone business, which would offer the company potentially higher margins and better profits.

Chomet said the higher percentage of pre-orders for the S23 Ultra is “proof that even though 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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