I was recently in the market for a Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF) Galaxy S6. I don't intend to replace my iPhone 6 with it, mind you, but I've been itching to get some extended hands-on time with an S6 to get a sense of how it compares with the iPhone 6 in the real world.
In an attempt to get an S6 for cheaper than what Verizon (NYSE:VZ) will sell me one for, I bid on a new 32GB Galaxy S6 on eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY). I was able to get one for $560 plus approximately $10 in shipping costs.
According to Verizon's website, the full retail cost of a S6 straight from the company is $599 after a $50 mail-in-rebate debit card, meaning I saved a cool $30.
Now, out of curiosity, I looked at how much Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 6 models go for on eBay and noticed something interesting -- and positive -- for Apple shareholders.
Going once...going twice...
On eBay I followed two iPhones: a "factory sealed" 16GB silver iPhone 6 and a used 16GB silver iPhone 6. The used one sold for $560 plus $11.55 for expedited shipping for a total cost of $571.55 -- just a smidge more than the $570 total I paid for a new Galaxy S6.
The new iPhone 6 that I watched sold for $600 with free shipping.
Why is this good news for Apple stockholders?
The iPhone 6 launched back in September, meaning that it's about eight months old now, with a replacement likely to be due in about four months or so. In contrast, the Galaxy S6 is barely a month old, and it still sold for less than the older iPhone 6 on eBay.
There's something unique happening here. The Galaxy S6 touts a lot of higher-end specs that the iPhone 6 simply doesn't have, like a higher-resolution display, more storage, and a whole other host of bells and whistles that the iPhone 6 doesn't have. However, people are still willing to pay more on the open market for an iPhone 6 than for a Galaxy S6. In other words, the iPhone 6 appears to be worth more to customers.
So, about those 70 million unit shipments ...
Even before the Galaxy S6 came out, there was a lot of chatter about how the S6 had received "20 million pre-orders." One Samsung executive reportedly said that it expects combined sales of the S6 and the S6 edge to exceed 70 million units.
Only time will tell how the S6 will ultimately fare in the marketplace, but The Korea Herald reports that Samsung sold 10 million phones about a month after launch. And, as Gordon Kelly, writing for Forbes, points out, this initial sales figure means that Samsung's chances of selling 70 million S6 units during 2015 -- without substantial price reductions, mind you -- are pretty slim.
The S6 might not be enough to save Samsung's high-end business
When Samsung reports its financial results in a few months, we'll get a good sense of how the Galaxy S6 fared in turning around the company's fortunes at the high end of the market. That said, given the signs I've mentioned, my suspicion is that Samsung is going to continue having a difficult time trying to grab high-end smartphone share back from Apple.