The success of Galaxy M, Samsung’s only online exclusive range of smartphones, will help the company double its online market share this year, says Asim Warsi, senior vice-president, mobile business, Samsung India.
Samsung’s Galaxy M smartphones have met with extraordinary success in India, with the company selling more than 2 million units of Galaxy M10, M20 and M30 devices in a short period. The South Korean consumer electronics giant is now readying its fourth Galaxy M smartphone—Galaxy M40; India will be the first country to get this device. The success of Galaxy M, Samsung’s only online exclusive range of smartphones, will help the company double its online market share this year, says Asim Warsi, senior vice-president, mobile business, Samsung India. “Samsung India’s online growth is being propelled by Galaxy M series, along with Galaxy A and Galaxy S series, which are also available across online channels. Our aim is to maintain 25% value share of the handset industry in the online space,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interview. Excerpts:
What is the target audience for the M Series? How is it going to consolidate Samsung’s position in India?
Galaxy M series was launched for online shoppers in India. These are Gen Z and young millennials—very discerning buyers, their knowledge and research and assessment of technology and phones is fairly evolved.
We launched Galaxy M10 and M20 in February and M30 in March. And in this short span, we have sold more than 2 million devices. Galaxy M series adoption has been nothing less than a vertical takeoff, better than our expectations. We had set out to double our online business in 2019 over the previous year and as of now we are exactly there. We are going to stay focused and do a lot more within this year to keep up with that growth rate.
Coming to Galaxy M40, it is everything that the Galaxy M Series espouses. We are launching Infinity-O display in Galaxy M40, which was earlier only available in the Galaxy S10. The triple camera in Galaxy M40 comes with a 32-megapixel sensor. Additionally, Galaxy M40 comes with a Snapdragon 675 processor for all the gaming, multitasking, etc.
Galaxy M40 is the flagship in the M Series and will be priced in the 20K bracket. The target audience remains the same. It is still those young, discerning millennials out there or the Gen Z consumers out there who are really looking to max out their phones from a hardware and overall experience perspective.
What are your views on the densely populated mid-range market?
The mid-range segment comprising phones priced Rs 10,000-20,000 is the hottest segment right now. We are working closely with consumers to figure out what differentiated experiences they are looking for. Galaxy M series was designed around the online buyer and it has hit a sweet nerve with the consumers. They love it. Some time back you had said that the high-end smartphone market is the most exciting segment because that is really the fountainhead of innovation.
Do you see R&D efforts being directed towards the mid-range now given that there is more demand here?
Yes, but not for the reason that there is more competition. Over time, innovation at all ends of the market is important. So innovation is still important for consumers who are in the mid-segment of the market. And thereby, you see the Galaxy A Series, the things we did in the Galaxy A Series and the Galaxy M Series, and this didn’t start in 2019, it started in second half of 2018 itself. We launched a triple camera and a quad camera in Galaxy A7 and Galaxy A9 respectively. That was actually a first of sorts in our Galaxy A series. We put a 5,000 mAh battery in Galaxy M20 and that innovation is not there in our high-end devices, forget flagship. Also, this year we launched Galaxy A80, which is the world’s first rotating camera phone. So innovations from Samsung are increasingy coming in the mid-segment phones.
Samsung has a considerable presence in the offline space. Why is it now moving towards the online space?
We are not moving online, the consumers move, we follow. And it’s only in the last three to five years that online has seen shape and growth. Even now, India is predominantly an offline market. And even into the visible future, in our studied opinion, it will remain an offline market.
Regarding online, we had Galaxy On series extensively in the last three years. The On series was the predecessor to Galaxy M series. In 2019, enter M series, and now it has taken the baton to a different level. So our strategy is not about addressing one channel or another, it’s about addressing the consumer through the channel she prefers.
Were there any significant challenges in maintaining a balance between online and offline sales?
If you look at Galaxy M Series and Galaxy A Series, the M Series stands for really powerful specs and a certain kind of positioning in the consumers’ mind. Galaxy A series addresses a different kind of positioning born out of different kind of specs and experience based on buying behaviour and therefore the design, camera capabilities, etc. Both these portfolios sell harmoniously in the market. And mind you, Galaxy A series sells in offline as well as an online, while Galaxy M series is online dedicated.
What are the factors driving smartphone sales for Samsung?
To begin with, I would say that we are the most loved brand. But it is also about the brand trust —a function of multiple things—quality, after sale service network, etc. There are other hard factors in terms of our continuously changing and refreshing portfolios. Our innovation at the top-end flagships, or in the mid segment, which is the A Series and the M Series.
Over the years we have ensured that we define the distribution for the industry—the reach into hinterlands, small outfits, new outlets, towns or pincodes. So reach of distribution as well as reach of service. And not just fixed service location but service on wheels, which we launched two years back where we have 535 vans across districts. So it takes a whole ecosystem to get the consumer to say “I’ll buy Samsung”.
Lastly, when do we see the Samsung foldable phone in India?
Galaxy Fold is going to be a massive innovation story. While it’s already out, when it’s closer here and in your hands, I will have lots to share with you in terms of device, experience, timings, etc. So just hold on.