Sometimes keeping ahead of the game means learning some tricks from rivals – a strategy Samsung Electronics Co Ltd hasn’t been too proud to adopt in India where Xiaomi Corp and other Chinese brands have made hefty inroads.
Pages pulled from their playbooks include becoming savvier with online marketing to millennials as Samsung seeks to reinvent itself as a ‘younger brand’, as well as providing sales staff for smaller stores and even finding a new love for cricket with a sponsorship deal.
Combined with a slew of new models – many aimed at undermining Chinese dominance of the $150 to $300 phone segment – the new tactics are paying off with the South Korean tech giant reclaiming the No. 1 spot in the second quarter.
“Samsung was living in a sort of denial of the threat that Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo posed but now they’ve come out of the ostrich hole,” said Rushabh Doshi, research manager at industry tracker Canalys. “Now they are fighting back, definitely.”
Its Galaxy J6 launched in May and the Galaxy J8 sold from July have been doing especially well, each selling 50,000 a day, says Samsung. In an appeal to millennials, the phones have a new ‘chat over video’ feature which allows users to view videos without interruption even as they chat by text due to a transparent keyboard.
To be sure, Samsung has long dominated the premium end of the smartphone market in India and features like ‘chat over video’, designed at its Indian R&D centre, underscore its tech prowess. It has also built up a wide retail network in the country.