Samsung released its numbers this week and they continue to disappoint. Operating profits declined four percent to $5.9 billion, and the mobile division took a huge hit with sales declining from $3.8 billion to $2.4 billion from the same quarter last year. While still profitable, Samsung’s profits are not meeting expectations and they are planning to discount the Galaxy devices to make them more attractive to consumers. Dropping prices on any electronic device is to be expected, but the S6 and S6 Edge are still relatively new so this discount comes as a small surprise. But the poor sales in the mobile division is not a surprise to me because they are not giving people what they really want.
If we go back to last year, Samsung was selling their “ugly band-aid looking Galaxy S5 and cheap feeling Note 3 with fake leather” yet the sales of those devices fared much better than those of today. I certainly hope Samsung is getting the HINT that its true customer base cares less about the way a phone looks over the way it functions. If you talk to many Samsung fans, you will learn that they actually liked the Galaxy S5 and Note despite the critics complaints about how it looked and felt. Samsung customers don’t want an iPhone and that is why they used to buy your devices, because they used to be different. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge were products of Samsung’s braintrust that decided beauty was more important over function. That braintrust took away the removable batteries, microSd card slot, and water resistance to replace it with a device that looks absolutely stunning, but doesn’t have the gusto to match.
Even iOS users, as much as we think they buy the iPhone for the way it looks, they really buy the iPhone for the function. The design of the iPhone is a nice feature, but iOS customers like that their phones get updated regularly, have consistent battery life, and most importantly, they know what exactly what they are buying.
Samsung clearly thought they could take on Apple with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, by making a better looking device, but the numbers prove that was a failed experiment. If Samsung can get back to its roots, and give us a highly functional phone I am sure their sales will improve. But Samsung also needs to focus on getting updates to its software out much faster and they need to make a commitment to keep older phones up to date, because even phones that are just 2 years old are getting left behind. Also, Samsung could do themselves a favor by moving their programmers off bloatware projects and putting them on projects like battery optimization.
I used to be one of Samsung’s biggest fans, but now am one of their biggest critics, and I am sure there are many others like me who once loved Samsung who are now looking for replacement devices. My next device is going to be the next Moto X.