Supply of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 is failing to meet pent-up UK demand, with operators and retailers criticising the world’s biggest phone maker as overseeing a ‘shambles’.
The smartphone, which had been seen as the biggest launch of 2013 so far, was meant to go on sale across the UK last Friday (26 April). The launch had been quietly pushed back a day, but then reports emerged from the US of a delayed release.
UK retailers were left furious when they were only told of the supply issues a few days before the handset went on sale. This left retailers in a position where they had barely enough stock to satisfy preorders.
One operator said: ‘Given how the announcement of the device was well over a month ago, it would have had an idea of what orders were among retailers. The fact it failed to do anything about it and then failed to tell us until late in the day is unbelievable.’
Another player said: ‘It’s a shambles. It’s a litany of disasters. Operators are fuming, and so are the retailers… It has been incredibly frustrating. Customers are furious. This is the biggest launch of the year, and has been known about for ages.’
Samsung has made a number of small orders since Friday but this has not managed to meet demand. The manufacturer’s previous device, the Galaxy S III, had sold more than 50 million since it went on sale last year. While supply has started to come through, it was described as ‘a trickle rather than a flood’ and not enough to meet demand. One retailer estimated it was a week behind in fulfilling orders.
A Samsung spokesperson refused to make a further comment beyond what the company first said when the delays emerged. She said: ‘There has been unprecedented demand for the Galaxy S 4 in the UK. Samsung is working hard to ensure that pre-orders and sales across all channels are fulfilled as soon as possible.’
HTC was also hit by supply issues when it tried to launch its One flagship in March. It pushed back the release of the handset by a week after failing to source enough components for its UltraPixel camera.
Author: Graeme Neill