Galaxy S20 sales get off to a very slow start, but Samsung shouldn't panic just yet

Galaxy S20 sales get off to a very slow start, but Samsung shouldn't panic just yet
Officially unveiled more than two weeks ago, Samsung's latest ultra-high-end smartphone lineup is still a full week away from its US release, with European sales then scheduled to begin on March 13.

But while early US adopters continue to eagerly await their pre-orders to be fulfilled, the company's most loyal fans can already pick up their favorite member of the Galaxy S20 family in retail stores. We're talking about South Korean customers, although local media is reporting relatively low interest for the S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra in Samsung's homeland for the time being.

That might be due to a variety of reasons, mind you, including a big one having absolutely nothing to do with the phones themselves.

Another high-profile victim of the worldwide coronavirus outbreak

It may seem insensitive to the families of the over 2,850 people killed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (or COVID-19) to call smartphones and smartphone vendors victims of the ongoing epidemic, but it's starting to look like entire economies will be badly damaged if the global medical crisis is not contained in the near future.

While Samsung largely escaped the first effects of the coronavirus outbreak on the mobile industry, producing the bulk of its top-selling handsets in countries like Vietnam rather than China, the disease has hit South Korea hard, with more than 2,000 cases already confirmed in the company's domestic market, 13 people of which have died so far.

As you can imagine, that made a whole lot of potential Galaxy S20 buyers less than eager to leave their houses on the big launch day, which probably explains (at least in part) why Samsung only sold an estimated 70,800 copies on Thursday, February 27. That's a far cry from the 140,000 units racked up by the Galaxy S10e, S10, and S10+ during their first 24 hours of regional availability last spring, and it compares even more unfavorably with the 220,000 opening day sales of the Galaxy Note 10 duo back in August.

Of course, while offline sales are vital for any new smartphone released in South Korea, plenty of folks around those parts order their handsets online, and those numbers couldn't have been impacted by the coronavirus epidemic.

Pricing is also a problem

You might not remember this now, but a very reputable market research firm predicted the first year sales of the Galaxy S20 series would exceed those of the S10, S9, and S8 lineups. Unfortunately for Samsung, that was before the S20 trio actually saw daylight, and the first post-announcement analyst forecast was far less optimistic. That's mainly because many refused to believe the bleak pricing rumors that ultimately panned out and brought everyone down to earth.

Now we have the first concrete piece of evidence suggesting consumers are indeed reacting negatively to the pricing structure of the Galaxy S20 family, especially in combination with "lower than expected subsidies" in Samsung's backyard. While the US carrier subsidies and introductory deals look pretty compelling, the S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra are still crazy expensive by many standards, so it remains to be seen exactly what impact the extravagant prices will have on customer demand in countries not (yet) affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

In case you're trying to forget, the "regular" S20 starts at a whopping $1,000 stateside before various discounts, trade-in arrangements, free credit offers, and BOGO deals, while the Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra are available for $1,200 and $1,400 respectively in entry-level 128GB storage configurations. US deliveries are technically slated to kick off next Friday, March 6, but if you've been fast and if you're lucky, you could receive your precious new phone a little earlier.

Related phones

Galaxy S20
Galaxy S20+
Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G


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