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Samsung Debuts New Galaxy Smartphones, Eyeing Pandemic-Weary Consumers

Samsung Debuts New Galaxy Smartphones, Eyeing Pandemic-Weary Consumers

SEOUL— Samsung Electronics Co. ’s newest smartphones feature improved cameras, display functions for weary eyes and stylus compatibility.

But as global smartphone sales are projected to return to pre-coronavirus levels this year, the industry is trying to answer if the pandemic-weathered consumer will be satisfied with incremental improvements in technology and features. Samsung is betting the answer is yes.

The South Korean technology giant is debuting three new models of its Galaxy S21 phones Thursday, hoping to gain ground on its sanctions-hobbled rival Huawei Technologies Co. and lift weaker sales of its flagship phones as global demand sputters back.

Samsung’s first phone launch of the year is also typically the industry’s first calendar year release, signaling what other competitors might also have in store.

The smartphone market is still recuperating from the coronavirus’ economic fallout, which briefly closed retail stores and caused people to delay buying new devices, analysts say. That helped push the average length of time consumers owned their smartphone to around three years, according to market-tracking firm Strategy Analytics, and overall smartphone sales slumped 20% in the first half of 2020.

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