15 Salient Samsung Facts for 2023

Updated · Mar 06, 2023

Samsung generates over 20% of South Korea’s GDP. This basically means that if something went wrong at Samsung, the entire country’s economy would be in jeopardy.

How could a phone company hold so much power?

Well, the thing is that it’s not just a phone company.

We’ve prepared a bunch of fascinating Samsung facts that’ll make you see the company in its true light.

Samsung Statistics You Need To Know (Editor’s Choice)

  • Samsung created the predecessor of the smartwatch—the SPH-WP10 was the world’s first “watch phone.”
  • Apple sued Samsung for patent infringements. The legal proceedings lasted seven years.
  • When the Galaxy S3 came out, Samsung was selling 500 phones per minute.
  • Currently, Samsung has 267,937 employees.
  • Samsung Digital City employs over 150 teachers to take care of employees’ children.
  • There are 32 labor unions at Samsung worksites across the world.
  • In 1995, Samsung burnt 150,000 phones, which were worth $40 million.
  • Every year, Samsung builds at least 30 ships.

Curious Samsung Info to Get Started

We’ve already established that Samsung is a South Korean corporation, but did you know that technically it was created in Japan?

Read on to find out more obscure facts about the company.

1. Lee Byung-chul founded Samsung in Daegu.

(Source: Samsung)

Samsung’s first product was not a smartphone. It wasn’t a phone at all. In fact, Samsung didn’t make any products at first, as it was a trading company.

Lee Byung-chul founded Samsung in 1938 to export dried Korean fish, fruit, and vegetables to Manchuria and Beijing. Samsung did quite well, and was soon able to expand its activities.

In the late 50s, it began offering insurance policies, such as marine insurance and life insurance. It wasn’t until the 70s that it became the electronics business we know today.

Fun fact: When Samsung was created, Korea was still under Japanese rule. So, the company was originally called Mitsuboshi, which is the Japanese reading of the same characters used to write Samsung.

Extra fun fact: The name (in either language) means “three stars.”

2. Samsung Electronics was founded in 1969.

(Source: Samsung)

All the products Samsung makes today trace their origins back to over 50 years ago.

In 1969, Mr. Lee established Samsung Electronics, and a year later, the company started selling its first black-and-white television set.

In 1974, it started making washing machines and refrigerators. Various other home appliances followed, including microwave ovens and air conditioners.

3. It wasn’t until 1985 that Samsung made its first phone.

(Source: PhoneArena)

The history of Samsung phones begins with the SC-1000. We won’t blame you if the name doesn’t ring a bell. It doesn’t even have “Galaxy” in it, after all!

Most importantly, though, it wasn’t even a mobile phone—it was a car phone (which barely worked).

Three years later, Samsung launched the SH-100. This one was an actual hand-held phone. It was also the first South Korean mobile phone. (Best of all, it did work.)

Unfortunately, it wasn’t what we’d call a commercial hit. According to Samsung statistics, it only sold about 1,000 units.

4. In 1995, Samsung burnt a pile of phones that was worth $40 million.

(Source: THE ELEC)

Lee Kun-hee, the son of Samsung’s founder, served as the company’s chairman from 1987 until his death in 2020. He’s responsible for Samsung’s rise to one of the world’s greatest businesses. 

He’s also responsible for one of the most bizarre Samsung facts you’ll read today.

When Lee Kun-hee became chairman, Samsung wasn’t known for quality—mostly, it had been focusing on quantity. In 1995, Lee Kun-hee ordered employees to gather 150,000 old Samsung phones, smash them to pieces with hammers, and burn them, wearing headbands that said “Quality First” all the while.

That episode marked the beginning of Samsung’s transformation.

Samsung Sales Statistics

Some electronics are barely profitable. Gaming consoles, for instance, often represent a loss. Not phones, though. They boast profit margins of around 60%.

In other words, even though you pay $1,000 for the latest flagship, it only costs the manufacturer $400 to produce it.

Now, let us tell you how many phones Samsung sells—and how much the company actually earns from those sales.

5. When the Galaxy S3 came out, Samsung was selling 500 phones per minute.

(Source: The Sydney Morning Herald)

Most people primarily think of Samsung as a phone company. That’s certainly not the case, although it is phones that generate the vast majority of its profits.

One of the most successful phones Samsung has produced is the Galaxy S3, which first launched in May 2012. During its lifespan, it sold a total 70 million units, at one time selling at a rate of 500 phones per minute.

Fun fact: Samsung’s smartphone sales statistics rank the Galaxy S22 Ultra as the fifth most popular phone in the world, single-handedly holding 1.5% of the global market. However, the #1 phone, regardless of brand, is the iPhone 13, with a whopping 5.5% market share. 

6. Samsung generated ₩77.78 trillion in Q1 2022.

(Source: Samsung)

Over the past few years, Samsung has been releasing its latest set of flagship devices at the beginning of the year. As such, Samsung’s strongest quarter is usually the first one.

Take 2022, for instance. Samsung launched the S22 series in February. By the end of the quarter, the company reported ₩77.78 trillion ($59.95 billion) in revenue, which represents a 19% increase YoY.

Even more impressively, Samsung’s profits in 2022 have been truly record-breaking—and the year isn’t even up yet. The company reported  ₩14.12 trillion ($10.88 billion) for Q1 2022, which is 51% more than in Q1 2021.

Fun fact: Samsung buried a time capsule in 2010. It was meant to be opened when Samsung became the #1 smartphone brand in the world. Surprisingly, that didn’t take long—just two years, to be precise—so the employees left the time capsule unopened.

Samsung Group Statistics

Samsung trades in 80 different businesses or so—and many of them have nothing to do with smartphones or televisions. For instance, the tech giant also manufactures massive LNG carriers, helicopter engines, and even ultrasound machines.

Do you want to see what else the company dabbles in?

Read on.

7. Samsung has a weapons division.

(Source: Samsung Techwin)

Other than phones, the Korean giant also produces tanks, howitzers, amphibious assault vehicles, and other war machines. It first got into the defense industry in 1983 as Samsung Techwin, and has continued to develop weaponry ever since.

Armies around the world rely on Samsung’s creations. For instance, Finland bought 48 K9 Thunder howitzers in 2017, India ordered 25 units in 2018, and Norway bought 24 in 2021.

Techwin’s biggest market, however, is South Korea. Since Samsung started producing these artillery systems, the country has bought 1,136 K9 Thunders.

8. In 2021, Samsung Heavy Industries stands to make $12.2 billion.

(Source: The Korea Economic Daily)

Samsung’s shipbuilding division is one of the largest in the world. Despite that, it’s been on a downward spiral since 2015, accumulating over $4.7 billion in operating losses.

Now, things are changing. In 2021, Samsung received multiple orders for a total of 80 vessels worth $12.2 billion. So far, it’s gotten another dozen or so orders in 2022, all of which will keep it busy well into 2024.

Samsung is hoping to achieve an operating profit by 2023.

Samsung Employees

Long story short: Samsung employs about as many people as Apple and Microsoft combined. Yeah, the company is that big.

Is working at Samsung better than working for the competition, though?

We have some numbers to help you make up your mind.

9. Samsung Electronics has 267,937 employees.

(Source: Business Korea)

The most recent Samsung stats available indicate that the tech giant has reduced its workforce since the start of the pandemic. As of 2020, there were 267,937 people working for Samsung. That’s about 20,000 fewer employees compared to 2019 (or a 7% drop).

Now, let’s talk about the workers’ geographical distribution. Although Samsung holds a significant share of the European market, it only employs 12,861 (4.8%) people on the Old Continent.

Unsurprisingly, 84.5% of the total employees are based in Asia, with nearly half of those working in South Korea. The remaining 28,718 are spread across Africa and the Americas.

10. Samsung Digital City employs over 150 teachers to take care of employees’ children.

(Source: Samsung)

Considering the number of employees at Samsung, it’s only natural that the company would do its best to keep them happy. It’d certainly be no easy feat to replace them all. 

  • A dozen miles south of Seoul, in Suwon, you’ll find Samsung Digital City, one of the world’s largest office parks. Its 135 buildings acomodate 35,000 employees.

Ready for some awesome facts about Samsung?

Those who work in the Suwon campus have free access to 9,000 umbrellas, 650 employee clubs, 92 food menus, three soccer fields, and an electronics industry museum.

Oh, and they get free healthcare, too.

11. There are 32 labor unions at Samsung worksites across the world.

(Source: Samsung)

This should mean that all Samsung employees have top-quality working conditions, right?

Well, in 2019, Samsung vice president Kang Kyun-hoon was sentenced to 16 months in prison for union-busting activities at Everland (an amusement park run by Samsung).

So, it’d seem the mere existence of all these unions doesn’t necessarily guarantee employee perks.

Fun fact: Samsung isn’t the only company to have taken action against labor unions. For instance, Medium—the blogging platform—actively thwarted its employees’ efforts to unionize, which eventually led to 75 editors losing their jobs.

Samsung’s Competitors in the US and Beyond

In the US, Samsung and Apple control well over three-quarters of the smartphone market. Worldwide, the two companies hold about 40% of it.

That’s chiefly because various Chinese brands, such as Xiaomi, OPPO, vivo, and others, that have virtually no presence in the US, are well-known (and well-bought) in the rest of the globe.

Let’s start by looking at how many Samsung users there are in the world as of 2022.

12. There are approximately 1.3 billion people who own a Samsung phone.

(Source: Statista)

As it turns out, though, this is not a number that’s readily available on the internet, so we had to do some math to get that estimate.

Worldwide, about 6.5 billion people own smartphones. We also know that Samsung’s market share has been around 20% since 2015.

And since 20% of 6.5 billion is 1.3 billion, we concluded that’s how many people have a Samsung phone.

(Source: The Verge)

Whether you like or hate Apple, there’s no denying they came up with the first true smartphone device—everyone else copied the tech (some more so than others).

The first Samsung smartphone came out in 2009, but it wasn’t overly successful. However, when the Korean maker started overtaking Apple in terms of market share in 2011, the latter sued the former over patent infringements.

There were two major lawsuits, the first of which Apple won in 2014 for $120 million.

The second was litigated and appealed multiple times. In 2018, a jury ruled that Samsung owed Apple $539 million. Samsung said it’d appeal yet again, but the two giants reached an agreement before that, closing down the case after seven long years.

14. Samsung smartphones hold 27% of the North American market.

(Source: Sam Mobile)

So, what about the iPhone vs Samsung sales in 2022.

We already told you Samsung is a leader worldwide, but what about in the US?

Well, it controls about 27% of the market as of Q1 2022. Apple, on the other hand, has half of the US market. Furthermore, it seems like Samsung’s losing ground—just a year ago, it held 28% of the market while Apple boasted 45%.

Fun fact: Samsung sold 10.5 million phones in North America in Q1 2022. For comparison, Apple shipped 19.9 million iPhones.

15. In the US, 30.3% of those aged 25-34 are Samsung users.

(Source: Metafacts)

It seems like adults have similar tastes when it comes to smartphones—at least in the US. About 40% of those older than 25 go for an iPhone, whereas 25%-30% (depending on the specific age group) opt for a Samsung smartphone.

This is true for all US adults except for the youngest ones. Merely 20.9% of adult Gen Zers have a Galaxy phone, whereas 52.9% have an iPhone.

We aren’t sociologists, but that sounds like a massive problem for Samsung over the next decade. We can’t wait to see how they tackle it.

Wrap Up

We have to admit that even we at Web Tribunal were caught by surprise by some of the Samsung facts we talked about today.

A phone maker incinerating a pile of its own phones is quite an outlandish ritual, to be sure—but it worked, and that’s probably what matters most.

That said, if you’re a Samsung user and you’re experiencing issues with your device, we’d recommend against burning anything. Taking it to a repair shop should do it.

Jordan T. Prodanoff
Jordan T. Prodanoff

A wayfarer by heart, Jordan fancies journeying into foreign lands with a camera in hand almost as much as he enjoys roving the online world. He spends his time poking at letters and pixels, trying to transmogrify them into something cool.