Without the Galaxy S22 FE launch this year, Samsung may have created a void in the upper mid-range smartphone segment and backed itself into a corner. And with companies like Google covering a price segment that Samsung doesn’t, the latter could be at risk of losing some of its customers, if not globally, then at least in some key markets.
Samsung has brought back the Fan Edition series during the COVID pandemic. The Galaxy S20 FE was a response to the decline in global smartphone sales and the fact that customers are increasingly reluctant to spend money on flagship models. The Galaxy S20 FE was followed by the Galaxy S21 FE a year later, but Samsung decided to discontinue the Fan Edition series this year, so we didn’t get the Galaxy S22 FE.
However, although the blockades ended, the economic situation has not improved in the last two years. In fact, it seems to be getting worse and many people are content with tight budgets while the cost of living rises. In theory, this would be the perfect time to cover the ~$600 market segment with a new Fan Edition device, but Samsung decided otherwise. Its main focus is on the high-end Galaxy Fold and Flip phones and the flagship Galaxy S series, whose Ultra models fill the gap left by the demise of the Galaxy Note.
Samsung’s ecosystem is not powerful enough to keep people connected
To some extent, Samsung wants to follow in Apple’s footsteps as the company seeks to emphasize its ecosystem, services and experiences, which is why it created the E&I Lab last year. It apparently expects its flagship phones, as expensive as they are in today’s economy, to maintain high sales numbers because of the ecosystem they belong to. Apple does this with its products, and iPhone buyers are still willing to pay a premium to stay in the ecosystem.
To be fair, Samsung’s mobile business relies on Android, which has an open philosophy and is therefore harder to create a closed loop like Apple did. But perhaps that’s why launching the Galaxy S22 FE this year could help the company satisfy its customers who may no longer be willing to spend money on the Samsung experience. As long as they can look beyond One UI and the superior build quality of Galaxy devices, they won’t lose much in the way of switching to another service brand. The void left by the lack of Fan Edition devices seems dangerous in this economy and may have left Samsung in a difficult position.
We’ll have to wait and see if the company plans to fix this with the launch of the Galaxy S23 series next year. But as things stand, Samsung customers are more or less pressured to buy a Galaxy A phone or pay a hefty price for a flagship Galaxy S or Z. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground between these devices, and in the current climate, that could spell trouble for Samsung.