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Galaxy S20 sales have been sluggish because no one is buying new phones

Published Mar 26th, 2020 9:12PM EDT
Galaxy S20 price
Image: Ahn Young-joon/AP/Shutterstock

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  • Samsung’s Galaxy S20 lineup has seen disappointing sales so far, partly a result of the global coronavirus pandemic that’s forced millions of people to quarantine at home and businesses to temporarily close.
  • It’s the kind of situation that’s not exactly conducive to smartphone buying — and, indeed, the industry recently saw its largest monthly decline in smartphone shipments in history.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

We’re already on record

for having pegged the Galaxy S20 as one of the best Android handsets to come out during the first half of this year, and that’s thanks to everything from its great design to big hardware upgrades including a new camera system and 5G connectivity. And while at launch the cheapest S20 variant would have set you back $999, Samsung has stuck to its past precedence and dropped the price for the S20 lineup as the company tends to do for its Galaxy S phones soon after launch.

Unfortunately, even with retailers like Best Buy and Amazon offering a $200 price cut, all of the above still hasn’t seemed to juice Galaxy S20 sales to a point where they can be regarded as anything more than a disappointment. According to analysts, the Galaxy S20 has only managed to reach 60% of the sales achieved by the Galaxy S10 lineup over the same timeframe last year.

Samsung officials participated in a private conference call with industry analysts in recent days, hoping to convince them that its business isn’t in any particular trouble because of the slump — or because of the macro conditions responsible for it. Namely, the coronavirus pandemic that’s forced governments to institute shutdowns and quarantines around the world, which are the kinds of conditions that aren’t exactly, well, conducive to buying an expensive new smartphone.

To get a sense of the kinds of deals that have been on offer for the S20 in recent days, the best deal could be found over on Amazon, directly from Samsung, including a 128GB Galaxy S20, unlocked, for $799.99. A separate Amazon offer bundles that same phone with the Galaxy Buds and Samsung Wireless Charger Duo Pad for $973.

In spite of such deals, though, the problem of lack of demand is much bigger than Samsung. Indeed, the global coronavirus pandemic recently inspired the biggest decline in monthly smartphone shipments in history, with February’s totals showing a 38% drop in year-over-year shipments, according to Strategy Analytics.

During a visit to Samsung’s domestic display manufacturing facilities in recent days, The Korea Times reported that Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong declared: “Unexpected internal and external variables are putting pressure on Samsung, but we should not stop.”

It’s all about “corporate fundamentals” right now, the report continued. However, Samsung, as well as LG, are now having to deal with shutdowns of their smartphone and home appliance plants in India, where measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus have been getting more aggressive in recent days.

Samsung’s Indian plant is one of its most important smartphone manufacturing facilities because it can produce up to 120 million phones a year.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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