Samsung: Demand for Galaxy S6 steeper than expected

The company says it didn't fully anticipate how many of its new Galaxy S6 smartphones it would need right off the bat.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

Samsung is having trouble meeting the heavy demand for its Galaxy S6 phones. CNET

Samsung is likely to bump into trouble meeting demand for its Galaxy S6 lineup.

The Korean mobile phone maker said Wednesday that demand for its Galaxy S6 lineup is "much higher" than initially planned for, Reuters has reported. The Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge both went on sale last Friday. Though Samsung hasn't released any sales figures for the opening weekend, the two phones had already snagged around 20 million preorders over the past few weeks, according to the Korea Times.

"The two new phones are drawing impressive responses," a source told the Korea Times. "Samsung aims to ship 10 million S6s and S6 Edges in 26 days after the devices' global launch. That target is achievable."

If true, that would be a much faster pace than achieved by previous Galaxy S models.

The reason for Samsung's short supply? Samsung mobile chief JK Shin acknowledged a shortage in supply for the Galaxy S6 Edge. Last week, he told reporters that the company won't be able to keep up with demand for the Edge over the near term because the model's screens, which curve onto one of the phone's long sides, are more difficult to manufacture, Reuters noted. Still, Samsung is striving to meet global demand for its new phones over the longer haul. "Although there may be some difficulties for the short term, we will do our utmost to secure enough supply for our global consumers," Samsung told Reuters.

Samsung has a lot riding on the Galaxy S6 line. The company has seen its fortunes in the smartphone market take a decided downturn over the past year as it has faced increasing competition on the low end from vendors such as Xiaomi and Huawei and on the high end from Apple. The new big-screened iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus helped Apple steal the smartphone crown from Samsung during last year's final quarter, according to research firm Gartner.

With the Galaxy S6, Samsung seems to have paid heed to customer's complaints -- and to the lackluster reception for the previous model, the Galaxy S5. It moved from a plastic phone body to a more upscale metal chassis, and it also shifted to a less "bloated," less cluttered variation of Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system. The Edge model, too, brings in an extra bit of design flair.

CNET reviewer Jessica Dolcourt said this: "Worldly looks and top-notch specs make the impressive, metal Samsung Galaxy S6 the Android phone to beat for 2015."

But that won't help with the part of the year that's already gone by.

Last week, Samsung said it expects its earnings to fall once again for the just-completed first quarter of 2015 as it negotiates the rough currents of the smartphone market. It estimates that its operating profit for the January-March period will be 5.9 trillion won ($5.4 billion), down 30 percent from the year-ago period, and that sales likely will come int at about 47 trillion won, a decrease of about 12 percent year over year.

Samsung did not respond to CNET's request for comment.