Samsung eyes bigger slice in premium smartphone market

Last week, Samsung launched its S23 premium range of smartphones — Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy S23+ and Galaxy S23 — priced between Rs 75,000 and Rs 155,000.

Samsung eyes bigger slice in premium smartphone market
Samsung said that it would manufacture S23 series phones in India

With the likes of Apple’s iPhones dominating the premium smartphone market in the country, Samsung is banking on its its latest offering —Galaxy S23 series — to get a bigger hold in India. The South Korean company is confident of replicating solid growth in the premium segment this year as well on the back of record pre-orders of its new series, Make-in-India strategy, bundled offers on premium products with smartphones, new launches and its financing scheme.“The way we look at the premium segment is how can we add value to consumers.

When we put together an ecosystem offer that a consumer buying a premium (smartphone) from Samsung also gets a wearable, and buds too, we provide a unified and seamless experience across these devices, connected across other consumer electronics through the SmartThings app,” Raju Pullan, senior vice president of mobile business at Samsung India, told FE.

Last week, Samsung launched its S23 premium range of smartphones — Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy S23+ and Galaxy S23 — priced between Rs 75,000 and Rs 155,000. According to Pullan, within 24 hours of the launch, the company received a record 140,000 pre-book orders with an average selling price of Rs 1,400 crore. As part of the bundled products, the company is offering products such as Galaxy Watch 4 LTE and Buds 2, which are worth Rs 48,000, for `5,000 on pre-booking of its S23+ and Ultra models. 

According to Counterpoint Research, in the overall premium smartphone (priced above `30,000) market, Samsung has a 24% market share by volume currently compared to Apple’s 42% market share. In terms of value, too, Samsung has an around 25% market share, whereas Apple has a 52% market share.

When asked about Samsung’s strategy to take on Apple in the premium segment, Pullan said, “I don’t want to call out any brand, but I can for sure say that there is no brand other than Samsung that actually looks at building an ecosystem or integrating ecosystem (of devices) as part of the premium package to the consumer”. “Keeping consumers connected even if the phones are not there, that is a true digitisation of India,” he said, adding that Samsung’s strategy has always been around consumers, not competition.

According to analysts, the market share in the ultra-premium segment (above Rs 45,000) is expected to consolidate in the years to come because of the good performance of Samsung’s S22 series smartphones and now likely S23 smartphones. However, it would be difficult for Samsung to surpass Apple in the segment in India.“Apple’s iPhone is an aspirational brand in India. The majority of the customers who are willing to spend above `50,000 on smartphones want an iPhone. Apple has now increased the frequency of discount offers on its flagship smartphones which shows its focus on gaining volumes now,” said Shilpi Jain, a research analyst at Counterpoint. According to Jain, while Samsung’s focus is primarily on gaining shares in terms of value, but given it started its production of premium smartphones in India now, it would also start giving exciting offers like Apple in the coming festive year sales.

Last week, at the launch of its new series of smartphones, Samsung said that it would manufacture S23 series phones in India. In the October-December quarter, Samsung also started manufacturing its foldable series of smartphones in the country.“If we look at the overall premium segment, the industry grew by 34% in 2022, while Samsung grew at 75% y-o-y. We will continue to have a very robust growth in 2023 on the back of the early launches that we have had this year, a generation leap in technology that we bring to consumers, affordability and Samsung Finance Plus scheme,” Pullan said, adding that S23 series phones received a two times higher growth in pre-bookings compared to S22 series phones launched last year.

Apart from focusing on affordability through finance schemes, Samsung is also investing in retail marketing to grow its share in the premium segment. The company has about 1,700 retail experience centres in the country for providing multi-device experience to consumers, Pullan said.

Last month, Samsung had launched Galaxy A14 and Galaxy A23 5G smartphones in the entry-level segments.

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First published on: 07-02-2023 at 01:15 IST
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