[THE INVESTOR] Apple’s iPhone X and Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S9 -- latest flagship models of the world’s top two smartphone makers -- are seeing sales plunge to record-low levels in Korea compared to their predecessors, according to industry data obtained exclusively by ET News on April 30.
Based on sales figures from the nation’s top three telecom carriers SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus, the iPhone X sold 475,000 units over the four months since its November launch, while the Galaxy S9 that debuted in March sold 707,000 units over the past two months -- the lowest-ever figures for both the iPhone and the Galaxy S phones.
During the first two months of this period, the iPhone X, Apple’s first OLED iPhone, sold 139,000 and 163,000 units before falling to 103,000 units in January and further to 70,000 units in February.
“Considering there were no new phone launches by its competitors, including Samsung, 70,000 unit sales per month is considered extremely low,” an official from a local telecom carrier said on condition of anonymity.
The situation was equally gloomy for the Galaxy S9 -- the phone sold 707,000 units in the first two months, which compared to almost 1 million unit sales of its predecessor Galaxy S8 last year. The phone sales were almost cut by half over the past two years from 476,000 units in March to 231,000 units in April.
Industry watchers pinpointed high pricing and little upgrades in key features as the main factors behind the sluggish sales of the two most popular and expansive smartphones in the market. In Korea, the iPhone X and the Galaxy S9 are priced at 1.55 million won (US$1,452) and 1.15 million won, respectively.
“We don’t see the slowing sales as a one-time event. This could become a long-term trend in the market,” said another source said. “There are no immediate signs that the premium smartphone market will gain momentum any time soon.”
By Choi Jae-pil (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This story was co-produced by ET News and The Investor.