Galaxy S6, S6 Edge sold out in Dubai; Samsung is 'back in the game'

FILE- In this Feb. 23, 2015, file photo, two new Samsung phones, Galaxy S6, top left, and Galaxy S6 Edge, to right, are on display with choice of color selections at a special media preview in New York. Orders for Samsung’s Galaxy S 6 phones start Saturday, March 28, 2015, with delivery around April 10. (AP)

Dubai retailers claim that initial stocks of the Samsung’s new spearheads, the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge, sold out within hours of their availability, suggesting the South Korean smartphone manufacturer is back in the game after a dismal year or so.

“Yes, our stocks were sold out within few hours of the launch, and we had many customers waiting outside our shops to get their hands on the devices,” Faisal Al Bannai, CEO of Dubai-based axiom, told Emirates 24|7.

Faisal Al Bannai, CEO of Dubai-based axiom

“Samsung is definitely back in the game,” he adds. The South Korean firm lost the crown of the world’s largest smartphones manufacturer to rival Apple Inc. in the final quarter last year, after being on top for three years in a row.

Analysts cite a lacklustre Galaxy S5 and Apple’s biggest and best ever smartphones – the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus – as the primary reasons for that.

“S5 sales were not up to expectations, but with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Samsung definitely has two winning products,” Al Bannai adds.

Not surprisingly, it’s the higher end Galaxy S6 Edge that seems to be in hot demand in Dubai, as despite the steeper price, that device ran out first, say retailers. “The S6 Edge sold out almost immediately and most of our initial allocation of this product was set aside for pre-orders,” Sean Connor, General Manager, Plug Ins, told this website.

Sean Connor, General Manager, Plug Ins

That perhaps was also because the supply of the Galaxy S6 Edge was less than what it was for the regular iteration. Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for the S6 Edge’s less expensive cousin to sell out as well. “The S6 sold out through the first weekend of trade as well,” notes Connor.

“Both devices are high in demand,” says Al Bannai. “We are receiving more inquiries for the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge since, from a design point of view, it is a little more unique than the S6, but both products are doing exceptionally well,” he adds.

Plug Ins’ Connors too sees the Edge having an edge over the regular device. “The specs have garnered well deserved attention with customers, and the gorilla glass makes it extremely durable which customers are drawn to. The initial edge (no pun intended) goes to the Edge version because of the unique aesthetic design, but both devices are popular,” he says.

Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Retail, which operates Samsung brand stores across the UAE, tells us that “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.”

Axiom’s Al Bannai adds that there is genuine interest among UAE residents for the two devices. “The Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge ‘Live Experience Zone’ in our outlets has seen high footfalls, with customers queuing for a hands-on experience with both devices,” he says.

In responses “typed on my Galaxy S6 Edge”, Jacky’s Panjabi notes that Day 1 sales of the new Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge in the UAE were “far better” as compared to Samsung’s previous spearhead launch, the Galaxy S5.

Besides launching the hot new devices in glass and metal and making sure the design and engineering are the best it’s ever produced, Samsung has, this year, ensured a steady supply of its new devices. That, Dubai retailers agree, is something that ranks among the most important success factors of a new gadget.

“We saw comparable sales with the iPhone [6] launch, but much of the sell-out performance on these products depends on initial availability. There’s always more appetite with consumers with these types of launches than there is supply,” says Connor.

“The Samsung S5 did not sell out on the first day but we had a larger allocation of this product initially. Both were surrounded by a lot of excitement and hype but the Edge version of the S6 has been extremely popular,” he adds.

Jacky’s Panjabi too cites “more stocks available, more pre-bookings” and “the greater acceptance of the device” as reasons for the better sales of Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge compared with those of the Galaxy S5 last year.

Axiom’s Al Bannai sees more hype and demand for Samsung’s latest devices even as he insists the previous edition’s Day 1 sales were ‘satisfactory’. “There is definitely more hype and demand for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, although our day one sales for the S5 were also satisfactory,” he noted.

And while Al Bannai says “Samsung is back in the game” against Apple, Plug Ins’ Connor maintains it was never out of the game in the first place. “It would be difficult to say that Samsung fell behind significantly last year, though iPhone sales did slightly outpace Samsung’s in 2014,” he states.

“Samsung will continue to be very competitive in the race to be the world’s #1 smartphone company and this is a good step in that direction,” he says.

Initial feedback from tech-savvy UAE residents has been “very positive,” says the Axiom boss. “Customers are extremely happy with the new products from Samsung, and they are very impressed with both [Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge], the super-slick new look-and-feel, and the sophisticated technology it offers.”

He is a little wary of already comparing sales of Samsung’s new spearheads with that of the runaway success of Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. “It is still a little early to compare, and we also need to keep in mind that we still have many customers who have pre-booked their [Galaxy s6/S6 Edge] device and are waiting for additional stock to receive their handset,” he says.

“We expect Samsung to continue releasing cutting-edge, innovative smartphones, and we are looking forward to the brand new Note 5 this fall,” he adds.

“Samsung’s breadth of range has been one key strength to their success but the S line has been their flagship product since day 1 so we expect the same from this latest iteration,” Connor agrees. “The introduction of new colours and the Edge version should give this an advantage over its predecessors to some extent,” he says.

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