The firm said over the four quarters of 2021, Samsung would ship about 30% less units of the new flagship compared to the S10.
The S21 is expected to be launched on 14 January, with Counterpoint saying indications were that three models would be introduced: the S21, the S21 Plus and the S21 Ultra.
The new models are expected to be built on the new Qualcomm SoC, the 888, and have a sleeker design, with the possible inclusion of an S Pen.
Analyst Sujeong Lim said: “Galaxy launch dates over the past two years have crept closer to the iPhone, but prices have not. Last year’s delay from Apple, coupled with an accelerated launch from Samsung, puts the Galaxy S21 within 12 weeks of the iPhone 12 launch – this is not ideal from a price comparison standpoint.”
While improved specs put the Galaxy S21 at a higher price point, Lim said it was likely Samsung would be under pressure to keep prices as low as possible.
“The iPhone 12 is hitting a massive sweet spot with its US$749 (A$965) entry price," she said. "Furthermore, we are now in mid-winter, with the impact of COVID-19 only intensifying across key markets. Pricing will need to improve from S20 levels for Samsung to avoid disappointment.”
Jeff Fieldhack, Counterpoint Research’s director of US Mobile Devices and Carrier Strategies, elaborated on the impact of the S21 being released too close to Apple’s launch in the US.
“Stellar iPhone 12 performance is not only helping Apple have its best iPhone year ever, it is taking the wind out of competitors’ sails by dominating promotions, shelf space and the online space," he said.
"In addition, in the North American market, there is a post-holiday lull of flagship sales in January and February, making it a challenging time to have a significant product launch.”
Lim said an early Galaxy S21 launch was probably a tactic to capitalise on the issues faced by Huawei, with Samsung looking to fill the vacuum.
“However, the smartphone space has become very crowded across all segments,” she observed. “Not only are Chinese vendors introducing many mid-to-low end devices with competitive specs, they are also releasing more super premium devices.
"The S10 was competing with around 48 ‘US$800-plus’ models in 2018, but the S21 will have to contend with more than 65.”