Samsung Galaxy S20 is selling far worse than Galaxy S10: Here's why

Galaxy S20 vs Galaxy S20 Plus vs Galaxy S20 Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S20 series won't arrive in the U.S. for another week, but based on early international sales, Samsung's latest flagship may be in trouble. 

According to The Korea Herald, the Galaxy S20 sold an estimated 70,800 units since launching in Korea this week. That's about 50% less than the first-day sales of the Galaxy S10 line, which launched in March 2019. 

Citing a local telecom company, The Korea Herald notes that the low sales are partially due to fewer shoppers in offline stores due to coronavirus concerns. But there are several other factors that may be causing customers to think twice about the Galaxy S20.

For starters, there's the price. The Galaxy S20 starts at $999 (or 1.248 million won in Korea), with the Galaxy S20 Plus costing $1,199 and the high-end Galaxy S20 Ultra going for $1,399. Those prices are nothing to scoff at, especially when the still-capable Galaxy S10 now starts at just $749. 

There could also be some trepidation around Samsung's latest flagship due to mixed early reviews. Several reviewers have reported experiencing significant camera issues on their S20 Ultra models, and we've found the phone's autofocus to be a bit buggy and jumpy in our tests. If a $1,400 phone touted for its camera prowess is shown to have camera issues out of the gate, it's easy to see why customers might be holding off for now.

Another possible culprit, as TechRadar points out, is that overall interest in the Galaxy S20 simply may be down. A quick Google trends search reveals that the Galaxy S10 had nearly twice the search interest of the Galaxy S20 at its peak, perhaps showing that Samsung fans are content to hold on to their current flagships this year. 

Samsung may fare better when the S20 line releases more widely, however. In our Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra review, we found the phone to offer a stunning 120Hz display, long-lasting 5,000-mAh battery and solid photography despite some early camera bugs. If Samsung can fix those issues quickly, it may have another flagship hit on its hands. 

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.