Galaxy S9 sales may be low, but don't worry, Samsung isn't doomed

Did anyone want a Lilac Purple S9?

Image: Lil Sams/Mashable

The Samsung Galaxy S9 may not a be hit after all, despite being the company’s most polished and capable smartphone to date.

Analysts are estimating Samsung shipped only 31 million Galaxy S9 smartphones since it launched in March, making it the company’s lowest-selling phone since the Galaxy S III.

By comparison, the Galaxy S7 was Samsung’s best-selling smartphone ever. It launched in 2016 and shipped about 50 million units. The Galaxy S7 was also the first phone in company history Samsung released with two different display sizes — similar to the the strategy Apple used in 2014 with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

If the Galaxy S9 is so great — and we think it is — then why aren’t more people buying them?

The answer shouldn’t surprise you: People are holding onto their existing phones longer as they wait for more compelling features to push them to upgrade to a new one.

This trend isn’t exclusive to Samsung, either. Even Apple is feeling the squeeze. Though perhaps not as extreme, Apple is seeing declining iPhone sales too, which is, frankly, to be expected. 

There’s an over-saturation in the smartphone market right now. Phones have become so damn good with increasingly more premium materials and features there’s little reason to upgrade every year or even every few years. Plus, people are spending more on their phones — so they’d better last longer.

Take the Galaxy S9 and compare it to its predecessor, the Galaxy S8. The differences aren’t exactly a huge leap. The S9 has a slightly better camera, a better-positioned fingerprint reader, more responsive face and iris unlocking features, stereo speakers, and, err, AR Emoji.

All of these features improve on the S8, but the rest of the phone experience is virtually identical. The design is mostly the same. The Android software is largely the same. And all of the pillars of a Galaxy S phone — wireless charging, memory card slot, headphone jack — are all present. So what incentive does an S8 owner have to fork over $700+ for a new phone? Very little, unless you can afford to have the latest and greatest.

Is this the beginning of the end of Samsung’s mobile reign as the world’s largest smartphone maker?

Poor sales from the Galaxy S9 will reportedly eat into the Samsung’s quarterly profits big time, according to the Financial Times. Samsung’s expected to post its first profit decline — down 5.4 percent from the last quarter — in seven quarters, with the blame to be pinned largely on the S9’s weak sales. However, profits are expected to be up by 5.2 percent year-over-year.

Is this the beginning of the end of Samsung’s mobile reign as the world’s largest smartphone maker? Will China’s fast-climbing Huawei overtake it with innovations like a triple camera setup and new color-shifting gradient glass?

We wouldn’t bet against Samsung just yet. Sure, quarterly profit and unit sales might have taken a taken a dip, but Samsung likely has other aces up its sleeves. The company has bounced back many times over the years.

After the Galaxy S5 smartphone was ridiculed for its cheap plastic design, Samsung followed it up with the glass-and-metal sandwich S6 and S6 Edge the next year, kickstarting its ascent back to the top.

The disastrous Galaxy Note 7 was another case where everyone said the company would never recover. And, look how well that turned out. Samsung came clean on what exactly caused devices to explode, released the S8 and then followed it up with the fantastic Note 8.

Samsung has a chance to really impress with the Galaxy Note 9, which will be announced on Aug. 9. And if that doesn’t help the company improve sales, there’s always the S10 or its rumored foldable phone

So you see? Samsung’s not doomed. Not even close. The company would need to screw up on such an epic scale — multiple times in a row — for it to get knocked off its pedestal.

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