Samsung's pricey Galaxy S23 series is off to a flying start in one key market
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It's no longer a big secret that last year's Galaxy S22 family of ultra-high-end handsets has failed to live up to Samsung's global sales expectations, and with largely familiar designs, very few substantial upgrades, and higher prices in many countries around the world, it might seem safe to predict even lower numbers for the S23 lineup this year.
But the largest smartphone vendor worldwide remains bullish in its latest forecast covering everything from the Galaxy S23, S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra to the unreleased Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5, and the first regional pre-order figures confirmed after last week's big Unpacked announcement event appear to uphold this optimism.
Big prices, big sales
As unbelievable as it may sound, the Galaxy S23 series is not only far outpacing the S22 trio in India, but also setting a new (local) record among all Galaxy S flagships ever released in the world's second-largest smartphone market.
According to a Samsung India senior vice president, the company's hardcore fans in the region have pre-ordered a whopping 140,000 S23 series units in total within just 24 hours of their commercial debut, thus doubling the number achieved by the S22, S22+, and S22 Ultra roughly this time last year.
Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, and S22 Ultra (left to right).
Unlike the US, India is of course one of the countries where Samsung has raised its flagship prices since early 2022, sweetening however the Galaxy S23 pre-order deals with various "bundled ecosystem products" and cashback offers.
An entry-level S23 Ultra configuration, for instance, starts at the rough equivalent of $1,500 in India by itself while allowing early adopters to get both an LTE-enabled Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and a pair of premium Galaxy Buds 2 for only $60 more. Then there are "online exchange" (aka trade-in) promotions and bank cashbacks to take into consideration, not to mention free Samsung Shop App vouchers.
All in all, that... still makes the Galaxy S23 Ultra hugely expensive, but a lot of folks in the region don't seem to mind that, contributing to around $170 million in pre-order revenue generated after 24 hours of official availability.
What's on the horizon for the Galaxy S23 series?
Naturally, Samsung is unlikely to keep this pace up throughout the pre-order period, although the company does expect to "grow in double-digits in the premium segment" of the Indian smartphone market this year thanks to both the Galaxy S23 series and "other premium offerings" like the Galaxy Z Fold 4, Z Flip 4, and eventually, the aforementioned Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5 as well.
While India has always been a fertile ground for the Korea-based mobile industry veteran, said regional "premium segment" is currently dominated by Apple. But Samsung was apparently the "fastest growing brand in the ultra-premium segment" in 2022 while topping the "affordable premium" chart and sitting in second place in the overall smartphone vendor hierarchy, narrowly behind budget champion Xiaomi.
Galaxy S23, S23 Ultra, and S23 Plus (left to right).
If the S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra continue to sell like hotcakes, Samsung may well be able to threaten both Apple's "premium" supremacy and Xiaomi's overall dominance in India this year.
Everywhere else, of course, it remains to be seen how the three new powerhouses are received in comparison with the S22 trio and other past members of the high-end Galaxy S family.
Samsung's US prospects don't look bad at all, with the best Galaxy S23 series launch deals seeming very likely to attract a significantly higher number of bargain hunters than the Galaxy S22 lineup. Then again, it's obviously far too early to make any sort of firm prediction, and until we put together our complete reviews of the three "next big things", it's hard to say whether or not you should rush to ditch your S22 or even S21 series phone.
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