As S8 Pre-Orders Surpass S7’s, Samsung Putting Note 7 Behind It

Suggestions that many consumers are unfazed by last year’s Galaxy Note 7 fires, mobile chief of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s said on Thursday that pre-orders for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone have exceeded those of its predecessor S7.

For a firm recovering from one of the worst product safety failures in tech history, which ended in the Note 7’s swift withdrawal, strong initial demand for the S8 will be encouraging for Samsung.

Ahead of the start of sales in South Korea, the United States and Canada on April 21, the new smartphone has received favorable reviews in the press and the social media.

A first-year sales record for the South Korean company have even predicted by some investors and analysts.

“It’s still a bit early, but initial response to the pre-orders that have begun at various places across the world have been better than expected,” mobile chief Koh Dong-jin said at an S8 media briefing.

Due to measures implemented to avoid the battery failures that caused some Note 7s to spontaneously combust, the S8 will be the safest Galaxy smartphone to date, he said.

Along with a booming memory chip market that is widely expected to deliver record revenue this year for the industry as a whole, strong S8 sales are likely to help Samsung to its best-ever quarterly profit in April-June, analysts said.

Since the Note 7’s withdrawal in October within two months of being on the market, losing out on $5.4 billion in profit, Samsung has been working to restore investor trust as well as its reputation.

It will take time for Samsung’s brand image to recover, senior executives told foreign media on the sidelines of the briefing. Since announcing the results of a probe into the fires and preventative measures on Jan. 23, Samsung has seen a rebound in consumer sentiment toward the firm, They also said.

“It took Toyota about four years for its brand to get back to where it was, and I think ours can do it faster,” said Lee Young-hee, an executive vice president at Samsung’s mobile business. The executive said this while referring to a series of Toyota Motor Corp vehicle recalls from 2009 to 2011.

Rather than highlighting safety, features such as almost bezel-less screens have been the focus of t the S8 advertising blitz. In the belief that Samsung has done enough to convince consumers the Note 7’s problems will not be repeated, this was a deliberate move, executives said.

“We felt really comfortable that we had attained a level of confidence with consumers so that we could actually shift to the product campaign,” said Pio Schunker, global head of integrated marketing for Samsung’s mobile business.

“Ultimately I think it is this product that proves this case.”

(Adapted from Reuters)

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