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Galaxy S7 cracks Top 5 for the quarter in the US


Launched on March 11th, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge became an immediate hit among US consumers, capturing 5.8% of Q1 2016 smartphone sales. The Galaxy S7 was the fifth best-selling phone in Q116 despite only being available for the last few weeks of the sales period. The same cannot be said of its predecessor, the Galaxy S6, which was the 10th best-selling smartphone (3.2%), after its launch in the three months ending in April 2015.

So what is Samsung getting right now that they didn’t last year?

When the Galaxy S7 was announced at the tail end of February 2016, we wrote that the new model would address most of the shortcomings of the Galaxy S6, most notably the lack of removable storage, while also improving camera quality and overall speed. Now that the S7 has a month of sales under its belt, let’s look some of our claims and how consumers have responded.

Among Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge buyers who purchased the devices in March, the leading purchase driver was battery life, with 53.5% citing it as the main driver of handset choice. The battery on the S7 is larger than on previous iterations (though according to some- battery life is not significantly improved), and ships with fast and wireless charging (50% of the battery life in 30 minutes). This is the first Samsung device to do so, though this feature was available as an accessory for earlier models.

Quality of the camera was also an important driver for S7 buyers—specifically, for 50.9% of them versus 33.5% of overall smartphone buyers for the period. S7 buyers also prioritized storage capacity on the phone, at 36.5% versus 17.8% among all buyers, and processor speed at 39.8% versus 23.9% of all buyers.

So Samsung got the specs right—and consumers responded. But is that all?

Generally, when we ask consumers what influenced their decision to purchase their model, getting a good deal on the price of the phone is always the top influencer (43.9% of smartphone buyers in Q116 versus the next nearest purchase influencer: exclusive phone promotion or offer at 19.9%). However, 38.8% of Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge buyers were influenced by an exclusive phone promotion or offer, 12.2% by a free or discounted product, 11% by a trade-in scheme, and 10.3% by free or discounted accessories.

The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge appears to be one of the most heavily promoted phones, ever. If you ordered an S7 before March 18th, you got a Gear VR and six VR games for free. AT&T and T-Mobile offered “buy one, get one free” deals for a time. Best Buy included a Gear VR and a 64gb SIM card with the purchase of an S7. For purchasers of the S7 at Costco this month, they’ll get a 32-inch Samsung HD TV. And that’s barely scraping the surface of the promotions and trade-ins available for this device.

With strong sales in the first few weeks boasted by heavy promotions across carrier and independent retailers, we can well expect the Galaxy S7 to become the best-selling phone in Q2 of this year. The Galaxy S6 was never able to capture the top spot, remaining the second best-selling phone behind the iPhone 6, and then the iPhone 6s. As the big promotions subside and are replaced by smaller and subtler deals, how will the S7 fare?

Sales data shows that for its latest model, specs and promotion are important for Samsung

Sales data shows that for its latest model, specs and promotion are important for Samsung

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Lauren Guenveur
Mobile Analyst Kantar Worldpanel ComTech

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