April 10th was a big day for the consumer electronics market. The Apple Watch was available for preorder in the midst of much speculation of its success or failure to turn the heads of millions of wearables customers. Oh yes, and Samsung’s newest flagship phones, the Galaxy S6 and the curvaceous Galaxy S6 Edge, were available for sale at retailers and carriers. This made little noise during the past seven days in the consumer demand data we track here at Argus Insights. In fact, both of these phones are seeing less demand than any flagship launch Samsung has had in the past two years. Both the slow to sell S4 and the OMG this is awesome S5 faired better with consumers than the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have so far.
In fact, the total demand for both handsets is lower than either the S5 or the S4. What is even more disturbing is that every new customer is more disappointed with the handset than the last. Though Samsung and others are forecasting 70 million units sold, we are seeing much slower demand unfold for Samsung as they struggle against Android powered upstarts from China like Xiaomi and the increasing global dominance of Apple. Samsung needed a win with the S6. Our analysis is showing the S5, iPhone 6 and 6 plus all three received boosts in demand coincident with the Samsung Galaxy S6 launch.
To add insult to injury, US consumers are receiving aggressive promotions from at least Best Buy and Verizon offering $200 giftcards and early upgrade subsidies respectfully. The handsets have only been in stores for seven days, and already retailers are working hard to move them out of inventory; Leaving us with the question, are the latest Galaxy handsets hot phones or hot potatoes? Our analysis of the launch so far points to these devices being hot potatoes that retailers bought too many of from Samsung, leaving them desperate to move inventory.
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