Dubai sales of the new Samsung spearheads – the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 edge – over the first weekend saw hundreds of eager Samsung fans queued up at the stroke of midnight at the two Samsung brand stores in Dubai – at Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates – to purchase the new flagship phones at the moment of their global release on April 10.
Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Retail, which operates Samsung brand stores across the UAE, told Emirates 24|7 Day 1 sales of the new Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 edge in the UAE “were far better as we had more stocks available, we had more pre-bookings and due to the greater acceptance of the device”.
Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Retail. (Supplied)
Samsung Gulf Electronics also sort of rewarded the loyalty of those who queued up at midnight at each store with a Dh300 voucher for Samsung accessories.
Read: Launched: Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, Apple Watch, BlackBerry Red, HTC One M9+
“Our loyal customers came out in force this weekend, and we shared in their excitement. The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge entirely redesigned Samsung’s Galaxy S series, and it is gratifying to see how quickly our new devices resonated with people in the UAE,” said Hayssam Yassine, Head of Telecommunications Group at Samsung Gulf Electronics.
Readers might recall that Samsung Gulf ran a similar scheme in 2013, during the launch of the Galaxy S4, when it announced a Dh444 in-store voucher for the first 200 customers of the smartphone at its Dubai Mall store.
Even as the store was set to open at 10am, customers started queuing up as early as 6.30am to snap the latest device. We witnessed heated arguments between impatient fans and the store management that was clearly trying its best to organise customers and dole out the devices.
Read: Samsung Galaxy S4 Day 1 sales: Fans mob store
Panjabi added that the crowds were more manageable during the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge launch thanks to the extensive pre-booking campaign that the company ran this time around.
“Since we ran a fairly extensive pre-booking campaign, we were able to ensure that all those who pre-booked units in our Samsung brand shops were catered for.
In addition to this, we got a healthy stock allocation for the first weekend,” he said.
“If the opening weekend is any indication, we expect to see strong demand for these devices in the weeks to come,” added Yassine.
Asked which of the two new smartphones was more in-demand with UAE residents, Panjabi said it was the dual-edged S6 edge that was finding favour despite being more expensive.
“The Galaxy S6 edge has been in more demand but we have seen both models do well. The UAE has had a good appetite for flagship devices and the same has been evidenced here,” he said.
Samsung went to some length to explain at the Dubai unveiling of the devices last month that the curved screen of the Galaxy S6 edge is achieved through a meticulous process, which also implies that mass production may not necessarily meet demand of the novel device.
A number of analysts have noted that Samsung is in real danger of running out of the dual-edged device, and have noted that that may not necessarily be a good problem to have since consumers may not choose to wait, and at least some of them may go for rival devices.
Panjabi, however, does not perceive shortages to be a real threat.
“A second shipment is due in a day or so therefore ensuring we try and maximise on the sales opportunity,” he said.
In addition, he said a number of new Samsung launches in recent past have seen a turnaround in the South Korean firm’s fortunes. Samsung recently lost the crown of the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer to rival Apple Inc. in the final quarter of 2014.
Apple’s big-screened iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus have been a roaring success both here in the UAE and across the world since their launch in September 2014. Samsung sales, on the other hand, were marred by a lacklustre spearhead in the shape of Galaxy S5 last year.
That is now fast changing, says Panjabi. “We had started to see an uptick in the last few months when the re-jig in Samsung’s smartphone line up started,” he said.
“The Galaxy J1 for Dh499 represents fantastic value for an LTE smartphone and we saw this as a runaway hit at the Abu Dhabi Electronics Shopper last month.
The Galaxy A and E series have also sold well.
The rationalisation of the Samsung smartphone line up has delivered results thus far,” he said.
But those devices are at best a sideshow for Samsung, with the real protagonist now arriving at the scene.
It will be the performance of the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 edge over the next few months – and not just during the opening weekend – that will decide who takes the 2015 smartphone honours.