Samsung Electronics Co.'s newest Galaxy Note 7 boasted strong sales on its first day of relaunch, industry sources said Sunday, after the tech giant ordered a full recall over the defective battery issues.
The new phablet, a cross between regular smartphones and tablet PCs, saw its sales reach 21,000 units in South Korea on Saturday after Samsung officially resumed the sales for the first time after it suspended all shipments last month.
The company first kicked off sales of the much-awaited mobile device, considered one of the best smartphones of 2016, on Aug. 19, but sales were suspended shortly afterward due to reports of some handsets catching fire while charging.
"Most consumers chose to exchange their Galaxy Note 7, despite the delay, rather than seek a refund," a smartphone retailer said, predicting the demand for the set should remain high partly since there is a lack of a viable competitor at present. Apple Inc.'s iPhone 7 has yet to reach the South Korean market.
Industry watchers said the Galaxy Note 7's top-notch specifications, including iris scanning for added protection, expandable storage via a microSD card and excellent cameras with super-fast auto focus that are considered the best in the business, were attractive enough to rake in consumers.
The first-day performance also cast a rosy outlook on Samsung's future earnings performances, as daily smartphone sales beyond 10,000 units are what is considered to make a mega-hit in the South Korean market.
The strong sales of the phablet were also implied last month when nearly 30,000 consumers applied for preorders over two days in September.
Those who have not yet exchanged their previous Galaxy Note 7 models can still swap them out for a new version at Samsung's official shops across the country. More than 80 percent of those who bought the first edition with battery problems have replaced them so far.
Samsung's faulty-battery issue had been viewed as a major hurdle for its businesses around the globe, with passenger airlines urging passengers to refrain from turning on the phablet during flight.
While some still cast concerns over the safety of the Galaxy Note 7, others say the tech giant was successful in rolling out speedy countermeasures that could actually win over consumer confidence in the long run, especially since batteries catching fire is not something that has only happened to Samsung alone.
Samsung, meanwhile, said it has exchanged some 1.2 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones for ones with new batteries and has not received any reports of battery explosions so far, adding that some suspected cases were caused by an external heat source or external shock.