Galaxy Note 7 is flying off retail shelves

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Galaxy Note 7 is flying off retail shelves

This summer, Korea is feeling Galaxy fever.

From the moment Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Note 7 was released on Friday, retail shops have had trouble getting enough of the waterproof, iris scanning phones to keep up with rampaging demand.

“You can’t get a new Galaxy Note 7 now,” a sales person at one SK Telecom retail shop in Jung District, central Seoul, said Sunday. “Even people who pre-ordered have not received their phones yet.” No new orders are being taken, said the sales person.

At an LG U+ mobile phone retail shop in COEX, Gangnam District, southern Seoul, a similar tune was sung. “If you make an order now, we will try to deliver you the product as fast as we can,” a salesperson said. “But we can’t give you a set date.”

Even the company is surprised at the device’s popularity.

“Usually we call it a hit when a new product sells 10,000 units a day, but 400,000 orders is the kind of demand we have never seen in any previous Galaxy release,” said a spokesperson from Samsung Electronics.

While stores ran out of certain colors on Friday, by Sunday there was no stocks left at all.

The scarcity of the phone is a worldwide phenomenon. According to global phone news information provider Phone Arena, the blue coral and silver color options for the Galaxy Note 7 have sold out in the United States and Canada.

In parts of Europe and China, the official release date of the phone has been postponed to early September as the No. 1 smartphone maker tries revving up production.

“We will focus first on meeting demand in countries we have already started sales,” the Samsung spokesman said.

The phone was released in 10 countries Friday, including Korea, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Singapore and Australia.

The phone’s technological advancements are helping drive demand, including an iris scanning security function, waterproofing and an upgraded S Pen stylus.

“The Galaxy Note 7 used its iris scanning function as a good marketing point and customers and telecommunications providers were more attracted than expected by the function,” said Kevin Lee, an analyst from Korea Investment & Securities.

Analysts say there have been no major tech breakthroughs in smartphones for the last two to three years, so highlighting new functions played a big role in whipping up demand.

Apple has been struggling to come up with new features for the last two years while local competitor LG Electronics has failed to introduce any on its premium phones.

In mid-September Apple and LG will be coming out with new models: the iPhone 7 and V20 smartphones.

Samsung will ramp up production of the Galaxy Note 7 in Vietnam and China, along with its local facility in Gumi, North Gyeongsang. The company plans to catch up on demand by the end of this month.


BY LIM MI-JIN, KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]


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