Last year was obviously a tough year for Samsung. Although the Galaxy S5 was not a flop it hardly lived up to the hype initiated by the Galaxy S3 and propelled to unprecedented heights by the Galaxy S4. At the beginning of 2014, a year after the launch of the Galaxy S4, Samsung was the king of the smart phone world. In the months leading up to the release of the Galaxy S5 on April 11, 2014, Samsung led the way in terms of global smartphone market share by a significant margin. According to the IDC, an international market research firm, Samsung captured 32% of the entire smart phone market in Q1, 2014. Samsung’s greatest competitor, Apple, managed to ship less than half as many units and claimed only 15% of the market. Then the Galaxy S5 happened.
While it was a very solid phone the Galaxy S5 did not capture the hearts and minds of the technology community. Initial reviews were not negative, yet it became quite clear to everyone, including consumers, that Samsung had stuck to the same formula for far too long. This was reflected by a precipitous decline in Samsung’s market share that began with the release of the Galaxy S5 and continued throughout 2014. By the end of the year Samsung’s market share had dropped to 20%, which was relished by Apple, whose market share rose to 20%. The Chinese manufacturers Lenovo, Huawei, and Xiaomi were also benefactors of Samsung’s misfortune and rose from relative obscurity to 3rd, 4th, and 5th place respectively.
Enter the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Announced at Mobile World Congress in March, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge demonstrated Samsung was not ready to relinquish their dominance of the smart phone market. Lauded by technology journalists and outfits the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge were poised to be a huge commercial success. They had the hardware, Samsung’s endless list of features, the hype, and, most importantly, the aesthetic appeal and build quality that was lacking in the Galaxy S5; a winning formula nobody expected to lose.
Fast forward to today, after the launch of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, and it seems Samsung is back on track. Initial sales figures for the two devices are very promising, particularly for the Galaxy S6 Edge, whose supply has been outstripped by high demand. Pre-order sales of 300,000 units for the week up to April 9, a day before release, has been much greater than expected, prompting many outlets to start a second round of pre-orders as the first one ended. On April 9 T-Mobile also announced that pre-order sales of the Galaxy S6 had doubled those of the Galaxy S5, which is very impressive if one considers the Galaxy S5 sold quite well despite Samsung’s loss of market share. In its first year Samsung expects Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge shipments to surpass the record 45 million units set by the Galaxy S4, which is backed by KB Investment & Securities, who expect 50 million units to ship this year.
Based on reviews, initial sales, and estimates the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge represent a major turning point for Samsung. The critics have been silenced; the industry is excited about its latest offering. Despite the rosy outlook for Samsung whether or not they will regain their lost market share is uncertain. Sales have just begun and we have yet to see what other manufacturers release in 2015. However, one thing is for certain: Samsung’s got its mojo back.