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The Galaxy S9 is definitely no match for Apple’s latest iPhones

Updated Apr 20th, 2018 2:11PM EDT
Galaxy S9 Plus Vs iPhone X
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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If you read our in-depth Galaxy S9 review, you know that Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are by far the company’s most impressive smartphones to date. The phones are more powerful than any flagship Galaxy handsets that have come before them, and they have the best smartphone displays the world has ever seen. The new Super Speed Dual Pixel is best-in-class as well, with dramatically improved low-light performance and a nifty new Super Slow-Mo mode. Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9+ also feature what is arguably the sleekest smartphone design to date, with curved edges on the front and back that fit perfectly in the hand. They’re truly great phones, perhaps the best Android-powered handsets money can buy right now. Unfortunately, it looks like none of that matters because sales have seemingly been far lower than industry watchers and even Samsung had expected.

We’ve seen report after report suggest that sales of Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ have been lackluster. The new phones are undoubtedly a big upgrade compared to last year’s Galaxy S8 and S8+, but the visual similarities and the apparent lack of any truly compelling new features has resulted in a shockingly low level of interest from consumers. Now, we have even more evidence that Galaxy S9 sales have been quite poor so far.

Some companies look to sell their brand new phones at full retail price for as long as possible before discounting them or running big promotions. Samsung takes a different approach, however. The company often offers big incentives to customers who preorder new Galaxy S or Galaxy Note phones. Then after release, BOGO deals and accessory bundles are never hard to come by. These deals often help bolster sales, and that was undoubtedly Samsung’s hope when it used the same formula with its Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ launch.

Sadly, it appears as though Samsung’s Galaxy S9 promotions haven’t made the phones any more appealing to potential customers.

As CNBC financial reporter Tae Kim pointed out in a post on Twitter, pricing on both the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ has been slashed at every single major US wireless carrier except for T-Mobile. Price cuts obviously aren’t uncommon for smartphones, but they are quite uncommon this early in the game — Samsung released the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ just one month ago on March 16th.

The new prices can all be found on Samsung’s website. At Verizon, the Galaxy S9 drops to $720 from $800 and the Galaxy S9+ drops to 840 from its launch price of $940. US Cellular branded S9 and S9+ handsets have received identical price cuts. The AT&T branded Galaxy S9 has fallen to $570 from its $790 launch price, and the S9+ is now $640 instead of $915. Buy a Sprint Galaxy S9 from Samsung and you’ll now pay $720 rather than $792, and the Galaxy S9+ on a Sprint plan will cost you $840, which is down from $912 at launch.

Prices at T-Mobile remain at $720 for the S9 and $840 for the S9+, which is in line with Samsung’s recommended retail pricing. Other carriers now match those prices as well, except for AT&T, which now offers the cheapest place to buy Samsung’s new phones.

High-end smartphone sales are believed to be slowing across the industry. Smartphone profit and revenue leader Apple sold 77.3 million iPhones during the holiday quarter last year, which was down from 78.3 million units in the same quarter a year earlier. The company’s flagship iPhone X was available for less than two months during the quarter, but it reportedly still isn’t selling as well as Apple had hoped. Of course, sales haven’t been anywhere near bad enough to prompt Apple to discount any phone after just one month of availability, however.

Samsung’s next major flagship phone launch isn’t expected to come until sometime in August or September. Even then, however, the pricey Galaxy Note series has never been a big seller for Samsung in terms of volume. Fortunately, Samsung’s chip division continues to reel in record-breaking earnings, which has gone a long way to prop up the company’s smartphone business.

Updated to clarify T-Mobile pricing.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.