Analytics and forecasting can't quite account for human taste.
Just ask Samsung. Samsung may have missed its window of opportunity to dent Apple's iPhone 6 momentum as it misjudged consumer taste and demand for the Galaxy S6 edge vs. the Galaxy S6.
The forecasting miscue was apparent with Samsung's second quarter outlook, which disappointed overall. Samsung's Galaxy S6 sales didn't live up to expectations as the company's flagship smartphone was squeezed from below and low-cost players such as Xiaomi.
Samsung's outlook spurred a bevy of analyst comments. Some fretted about Galaxy S6 demand while others noted that supply constraints with the S6 edge hurt sales.
Whatever the reason for Samsung's second quarter issues, the big takeaway is that supply and demand turned out to be the opposite of the company's expectations.
Edison analyst Richard Windsor noted:
Samsung guided to weaker than expected Q2 results as the Galaxy s6 appears to have been unable to make much of a dent in the iPhone 6's appeal. Part of the weakness in revenue is due to the fact that supply of the Galaxy S6 versions was completely at odds with demand. The S6 edge is meaningfully more expensive than the s6 and given that previous edge devices have not sold well, Samsung was rational in its expectation that the regular S6 would outsell the edge 4 to 1. Unfortunately this was not the case as demand has been roughly 1 to 1 leaving a shortage of the S6 edge and inventories of the regular S6. This is a common occurrence in the handset market where demand is notoriously difficult to predict.
In the quarter ahead, Samsung will have to lower inventories of the Galaxy S6 with promotions while upping the supply of Galaxy S6 edge devices.
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But here's the problem: Samsung will run into anticipation for Apple's iPhone 6s or iPhone 7---depending on what the latest name is for the device. Apple anticipation could freeze smartphone sales overall.
In other words, Samsung will be ramping supply amid a demand pause.