The mystery at hand is clearly one of demand: Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge is proving so popular that the company has just announced a third factory will be opened to manufacture the dual curved display that graces the premium product. Such news meshes well against the background of a sales ratio favoring the Edge over the standard S6 variant. The question is, why?
Just half-a-year ago, Samsung released the Galaxy Note Edge, the first product to use the new form factor. The product was said to be manufactured in limited numbers, would be released in select markets only, and came at a truly premium price point. The general public’s reaction was not exactly favorable, and indeed when the sales numbers came they weren’t impressive: less than 700,000 units had been sold as of this February.
This situation is definitely a curious one indeed. The Note Edge, which has exclusive features that made use of the unique form factor, has been largely forgotten even if some thought it was superior to the standard Note 4. On the other hand, the S6 Edge has so few legitimate features that some of us felt it wasn’t worth purchasing, yet seemingly everyone is.
Let’s examine the unexpected trend and see if we can’t arrive at some sort of conclusion; surely something big caused this dramatic change in consumer spending habits.
A device’s destiny
Perhaps the best place to begin is with the device itself. Galaxy S products are designed to be mainstream flagship phones that appeal to the broadest possible number of customers. Indeed this line started well before the Note series ever made news for its then “gigantic” display.
The Note is aimed at a fundamentally different crowd than the S. It’s obviously much larger, both in terms of the screen and the footprint. It comes with a stylus (the S Pen) and a productivity suite custom made to take advantage of the accessory. It has historically also been the device Samsung bequeaths the best specs to: of the two product lines, the Note received RAM bumps first, received a (mainstream) implementation of QHD first, received a metal frame first, etc. In short, if the Galaxy S is the phone for everyone, the Galaxy Note is the phone packed with purpose. It’s also seen as the more premium of the two product lines as a result.
It’s quite possible that the Galaxy Note Edge fared poorly simply because it was too new of a concept, geared to too limited a market. People want the Note for productivity, not for gimmicks. While the Edge Display certainly proved useful to those who bought it, most just shrugged their shoulders and moved on.
Funny thing about features
The Galaxy S6 Edge doesn’t have any real features except for the novelty of its design. None of the intuitive features made for the Note Edge are compatible.
How is it then, that the S6 Edge could be enjoying such success? Is the novelty of the screen shape really that much of a draw to customers? Could it be that the Galaxy Note Edge was off-putting for its somewhat “different” approach to Android and its features?
Peculiar pricing problem?
One aspect that is a bit confusing is the price difference between the Note Edge and the S6 Edge. Namely there really isn’t one to speak of. Both devices, when purchased unlocked/off contract, retail for around $900-1000. Granted the Note Edge is a bit more, but when you’re already almost a grand, does the extra bit actually matter? Especially if the Note Edge has a larger display, removable battery, and microSD expansion.
With a 2-year contract on the other hand, the price is a bit different. The S6 Edge is around $299.99 whereas the Note Edge is about $100+ extra. For many customers, that extra money could indeed be a deal-breaker, and thus the idea of buying a similar themed product but at a cheaper price point is simply the more logical option.
Still, the standard S6 is $100-or-so cheaper than the Edge is, and thus if price was truly the sole factor involved, it would make more sense to spend only $199 rather than an extra Benjamin.
Totally about Timing?
Perhaps the issue here is simply one of timing, or momentum. While Samsung announced the Galaxy Note Edge at the same time as the Note 4, the former released much later than the latter: almost two months in some countries and more in others. It’s conceivable that many of the customers who would have bought the Note Edge simply didn’t because they didn’t want to wait, and because the Note 4 was largely the same exact phone minus the curved display.
On the other hand, the Galaxy S6 Edge was announced and released simultaneously with the standard S6, and thus consumers had a clear choice from the very beginning. Perhaps, had Samsung at least provided working samples of the Note Edge when the Note 4 released, customers could have seen what was waiting down the line and made a conscious decision to wait.
It also should be added that 2014 was definitely not a good year for Samsung with financial woes aplenty and the relative flop of the Galaxy S5. Perhaps customers simply didn’t want to buy Samsung products for lack of momentum, or else their interest in other competing devices like the Nexus 6.
One big question sticks out like a sore thumb: if the Galaxy S6 Edge were to have released a month-or-more after the S6, would it be enjoying such brisk sales?
Made out of materials?
Yet another tangent to tackle is that of materials. While there are definitely a fair share of people irked by the unibody, sealed design employed in the Galaxy S6 Edge, it’s arguably a minority. Assuming such is the case, it would follow that the design of the Galaxy Note Edge, while nice with the metal frame, was still just “too Samsung”. It featured a cheap plastic removable back (along with removable battery and microSD support) and generally wasn’t viewed as a truly premium phone despite the semi-metal make. Add to this equation the inclusion of 2014-era TouchWiz and it becomes quite heavy-handed.
On the other hand, the S6 Edge is a totally redesigned phone in every sense of the word. The glass and metal make has eliminated any trace of plastic. The design is inspired by those that came before it, yet still feels fresh. Even TouchWiz itself has been refined and toned down to be a much lighter and brighter experience. Perhaps a great deal of mainstream consumers were just truly impressed by the S6 Edge and its craftsmanship.
Nothing normal for me
Could the success of the Galaxy S6 Edge be an indication that mainstream customers simply are tired of traditional devices and are therefore seeking out those which stray from the pack? Granted the LG G Flex 2 lost steam pretty fast, but the device is much more of a niche product and historically LG has never had smartphone sales that can compare with Samsung. What if the Galaxy S6 isn’t selling as many units simply because it’s just too similar to other smartphones?
The S6 Edge also has a major “wow” factor going for it that competing flagships like the iPhone 6 and the HTC One M9 simply don’t. If phones are now an extension of the individual who owns them, it seems perfectly logical that people want to be seen as cutting edge, stylish, and ahead of the curve.
In truth, it’s difficult to reach any one conclusion as to just why the S6 Edge is such a success. It’s quite possible a combination of everything mentioned so-far, or maybe something we haven’t even explored. One thing is for certain, and that’s the the fantastic fortune means its safe to say Samsung will be making more curved products in the coming months and years. Possibilities include a Note Edge 2, a S7 Edge, and even curved tablets, or who knows what?
So why do you think the S6 Edge has been outselling the standard S6? Why has it totally outperformed the Note Edge for that matter? Please leave your comment below and let us know!