Samsung Galaxy S20 sales off to a slow start - but why?

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The Samsung Galaxy S20 looks like it's off to a slow start, with early sales figures suggesting it's proving far less popular than its predecessor, the Galaxy S10

Samsung's latest flagship series has gone on sale in its home market of South Korea, and according to the Korean Herald, the Galaxy S20 sold 50% fewer units on opening day than the Galaxy S10 did in 2019.

The report claims Samsung sold 70,800 Galaxy S20 units in Korea on February 27, while the Galaxy S10 series shifted 140,000 on day one, with the Galaxy Note 10 proving even more popular with 220,000 initial day sales.

Apparently it's not totally the new handset's fault, with industry sources claiming that the spread of coronavirus is playing a part in the low sales figures. However, news of lower sales figures versus the Galaxy S10 series doesn't come as a complete surprise.

We also don't have sales figures specifically for the high-end (and hyper-expensive) Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, so it's not clear whether the number above relates to just the S20, or the Ultra and S20 Plus too.

We've been tracking the Samsung Galaxy S20 for months, and we've seen less consumer interest in the handset in the build up to its launch back on February 11, 2020 compared to the Galaxy S10 in 2019.

According to Google Trends data, the spike in interest at launch time for the Galaxy S20 was around half that of the interest around the Galaxy S10.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

That's a big difference between the two generations, but one which isn't totally unexpected. Smartphone launches tend to follow a tick-tock cadence, with a 'tick' year usually giving us a new handset with ground-breaking features, followed by a 'tock' year where a new handset gets more incremental updates over the previous version.

The Galaxy S10 was a 'tick' year for Samsung, as it looked to reboot its flagship line with a trio of handsets (in the S10e, S10 and S10 Plus), plus a bonus fourth offering in the form of the Galaxy S10 5G. 

That means 2020 is a 'tock' year for the brand, with the Samsung Galaxy S20 series building on the foundations built by the S10, but ultimately not providing the same level of revolution.

It's still early days for the Galaxy S20 though, and the range is currently only on sale in Korea - meaning there's plenty of time and scope for Samsung to secure huge sales.

The Galaxy S20, S20 Plus and Galaxy S20 Ultra go on sale in the US, Australia and the Middle East on March 6, and the handsets will then hit the UK and Europe on March 13.

Via PocketNow

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.