We will likely see the impact of the coronavirus outbreak for weeks and months to come, but for a concrete number to show just how disruptive the virus has been, look no further than the sales of the Galaxy S20. Citing industry sources, The Korea Herald reported on Friday that sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S20 smartphones were 50% lower on launch day than those of the Galaxy S10 series when it launched around the same time last year.
Insiders say that Samsung sold an estimated 70,800 Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra phones in its home market of South Korea on Thursday, which is a massive drop off from the 140,000 units Galaxy S10 units sold on launch day, or the 220,000 Galaxy Note 10 phones that were bought when it launched last August.
“Sales were affected by sharp declines in discounts for new phones and the number of visitors to offline stores due to coronavirus infection fears,” an official from a local telecom company told The Korea Herald.
It’s also worth noting that the entry-level Galaxy S20 costs 1.248 million won ($1,044) in South Korea, while the S20+ retails for 1.35 million won ($1,117) and the S20 Ultra sells for a whopping 1.59 million won ($1,316). We found it hard to believe that Samsung didn’t offer a more affordable phone in the S20 line following the success of the Galaxy S10e last year, but now we might never know how the pricey new phones would have fared in a normal market.
As the Herald notes, more than 200 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in South Korea on Friday morning, which brings the total in the country to 2,022 since the first case was identified on January 20th. We’re not exactly sure why that would stop people from ordering a new Galaxy S20 online, of course, but there’s no question that coronavirus fears are having a meaningful impact on Galaxy S20 sales and on smartphone sales in general.
Just last week, for example, Apple was forced to issue a rare guidance warning because the coronavirus outbreak is going to have a significant impact on the company’s earnings in the current quarter. Samsung’s earnings performance in its mobile division has been in steady decline for quite some time now, and it appears as though the Galaxy S20 might not lead to the turnaround that the company was undoubtedly hoping for. In addition to coronavirus fears, high prices are likely at least partially to blame. If history has taught us anything though, Samsung will start offering deep discounts on its new Galaxy S20 lineup fairly soon after release.