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The Samsung Galaxy S9 just made history, but not in a good way

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is in the record books now, but it's not likely that Samsung will be celebrating this particular milestone.

Published onJuly 19, 2018

  • The Samsung Galaxy S9 shipped nine million units in Q2, one million less than in Q1.
  • This is the first time in the history of the Galaxy S line that Q2 shipments are lower than Q1.
  • These numbers represent further evidence that the Galaxy S line is in trouble.

Korean news site The Bell published some shipment numbers related to the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. According to the report, the second quarter shipment numbers for the Galaxy S9 are lower than the previous quarter.

That has never happened before in the history of the Galaxy S line, which is going on eight years now.

Specifically, Samsung shipped around ten million Galaxy S9s in Q1 of 2018 and then only nine million units in Q2. Historically, Samsung ships more units of Galaxy S devices in the second quarter than the first, which makes sense because Galaxy S phones don’t even launch until the end of the first quarter.

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If these numbers are accurate, that means that the Galaxy S9 had a terrific start but is proving to have poor staying power. This backs up earlier claims from industry analysts, which we wrote about at the beginning of July.

So far, Samsung’s only official statement on the performance of the Galaxy S9 is this:

Samsung’s smartphone shipments increased QoQ due to an early release of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus as well as solid sales of the Galaxy S8. As a result of increased sales, mainly driven by premium models, revenue and profit significantly increased both QoQ and YoY.

However, it also pointed out that sales will be lower in the second quarter:

[In Q2]…Samsung expects earnings to decrease QoQ due to a slowdown in sales of its flagship models and increased marketing expenses to address the situation.

In other words, Samsung sees the writing on the wall, but doesn’t give any specific reason for why the S9 isn’t performing as well, other than “rising competition in the high-end segment.” That’s likely true, but the Galaxy S line is the king daddy of all Android smartphones; surely the blame can’t only be levied at the feet of competition.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is launching on August 9, weeks earlier than previous models. It’s not hard to imagine Samsung hoping to recoup some of its losses with the S9 by pushing the Note 9 out a little earlier. But with the Note 9 seeming more and more like a Note 8.1, will that be enough?

NEXT: Galaxy S9 killer: here’s what my perfect smartphone looks like