Preorders Perspective: How Good is The S6 Doing?
The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge shook the internet with their new design language, top-notch specifications and improved user experience. While it is very well known that Samsung has been stagnating for what most would consider a couple of years at least, these new iterations of their insignia flagship line-up look more promising than any Galaxy S device we’ve ever seen. While you can argue that the disappearance of the SD card slot and the lack of an option to quickly switch the battery are transgressions against one of the strongest suites of Samsung phones, the rest seemingly makes up for it. And if your battery starts losing juice, you can change it with a little work, so there’s that.
Last year, many analysts considered this Samsung release to be a do-or-die for the company. The fact of the matter was that the Galaxy S5 was one of the biggest disappointments the industry had seen. It failed to improve upon the S4 in ways that would warrant a purchase and mass adoption. Performance was still poor compared to the fastest out there (especially its cycle’s main rival, the HTC One M8), and while it featured a good camera, battery life and viewing experience inside, the outside viewing experience was simply outdated. The dimpled back made many simply back away altogether, and the cheap plastic once again turned away those who wanted a “premium” feel… an ever-increasing sentiment, it seems.
The S5 went on to sell a disappointing amount for Samsung, as the company only managed to see cash out of 60% of the units that they had predicted would be sold. This is particularly embarrassing given that the company had raised its expectations so high that they had ordered 20% extra units to be manufactured over the amount of S4 phones that were produced. The first few months of sales saw 12 million in total, with their sales dropping 50% in China (a new key market), but rising in the U.S. (biggest market for Samsung). This second fact means that we can infer that the rest of the world saw quite the decrease in Galaxy S iteration year-to-year sales.
The S5 was an interesting case: it was reported that in the U.S. it was outpacing the S4 in sales, but other than that fact, Samsung kept very quiet about the developing sales of their then-latest phone. What’s more is that the S5 was touted to have had “strong pre-orders”, but then the results ended up quite lackluster, and in October Samsung reported its lowest profit in three years, while Apple had been doing great and it only did better once the iPhone 6 hit the market. Analysts also predicted a great 2015 for Samsung’s biggest fruity rival. What could Samsung do?
The answers seem to be the S6 and S6 Edge, as the latest reports put both devices together at 20 million pre-orders, meaning another record for the Korean giant. Out of these 20 million, the S6 saw 15 million and the S6 Edge saw 5 million. Another thing that shouldn’t be overlooked is that these are carrier pre-orders, from the limited countries where the device would officially release. It is expected that these numbers will serve as a base for the total sales, as off-contract and unlocked devices will also make the cut, as well as those that will undoubtedly be imported in other regions. Eventually, the S6 release will hit worldwide as well, further increasing their sale numbers. But regardless of Samsung profiting off this massive number, keep in mind that carriers might have contract clauses that allow them to return dead stock if the device fails to sell well, which further strengthens the notion that these are preorders, not full sales.
So this all looks great, and certainly much better than the S5. The S6 has already nabbed 75% of what the S5 was predicted to sell in a much longer time frame, without a global release. How does it compare to previous phones? The S4 also broke many records, but as far as actual preorders go, it “only” managed 10 million in two weeks. This means that the S6 scored 50% more preorders in half the unveiled time. The S3 had a similar preorder figure at 9 million in two weeks. Keep in mind, however, that preordering is an increasingly popular purchasing method, particularly in the mobile industry, for both carriers and users (the former accounts for the latter) so when adjusting the numbers they could end up not being as favorable. Regardless, this means a lot of sales for Samsung tightly locked before the device is even out.
As far as preorders go, Samsung is doing better than I had ever expected them to do with their Galaxy S line at this point. This could certainly turn out to be one of the fastest selling phones in history… it all seems too good. Samsung has apparently nailed it with this campaign, but that doesn’t mean that this success will carry on indefinitely. There are still many factors to consider that could potential lower their momentum – although at this rate, probably never stop it.
One of the big reasons as to why Samsung does so well in the United States is said to be the contract-centric model of the region. The S5, for example, would have benefited from those exiting the 2 year contracts signed 2 years back, at the time of the S3’s release. The S3 was one of the most popular and most praised devices of all time, so it is understandable that many of those that got out of contracts and were looking to renew their phone (perhaps an S3) with a new purchase would opt for an S5, further strengthening their sales. The S4 broke 40 million sales in less than a year, and it was also a well-received device, so we can expect many people (and I mostly refer to S4 owners) to opt into the S6 once their contract is up.
But despite all the good things we are hearing about these figures and the ones that are bound to come into the game, the fate of a phone is never certain, especially one that is not even out. Take the case of the latest iPhone release and the bendgate scandal that most certainly shooed away some more conscious or wary consumers. Gapgate, the Note 4 counter-part, was also widely reported and generated a lot of negative buzz. Then there’s the fact that reviews can influence the life course of a device. On an extra note, this is a big design language change that many are simply not willing to adopt, especially if it means exchanging valuable features such as SD card support and (easily) removable batteries. Finally, if sales aren’t strong, a significant number of preordered phones could be null due to a contract Samsung might have with carriers. One last thing to keep in mind is that this article is focused on the S6, but the S6’s Edge’s 5 million preorders are also impressive on their own, especially considering it is still an arguably fresh and new concept. However, yield issues might severely limit this particular phone’s supply and, consequentially, sales.
All in all, it seems like Samsung is putting out a very compelling package that is getting equally compelling numbers. It might turn out to be their biggest release yet, but in this industry, nothing is certain until – if ever – it’s done. It is clear that Samsung has abruptly changed on many fronts, and their strategy is also adapting from the overpriced kitchen-sink approach to an arguably humbler scheme, as seen in developments ranging from their reduced amount of models to their latest price cuts. The Korean giant is undoubtedly waking up, and with a premium design, smoother interface and top of the line specifications, we can expect this phone to be a step towards their redemption. Hopefully we’ll see SD card slots again, as I know that I can say it’d give them at least one extra customer…
How do you think the Galaxy S6 will do once it hits the market? Sound off below!