In a bid to increase sales of its premium smartphones, the country’s largest mobile handset company, Samsung, will focus on bringing in more variants of its established brands and models, such as Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ and Note 5 in 2016. Consumers may expect more India specific innovations from the Korean major in the sub-Rs 15,000 category too, in the coming months. The moves will help the company stay future ready, Manu Sharma, director, marketing, IT and mobile, Samsung India said.
Increasing pressure and entry of Chinese companies on a regular basis in the domestic market has taken a toll on the share of major players already. A fleet of premium smartphone (above Rs 30,000) launches during 2015 has increased competition in the segment as well. HTC One A9, Moto X, Google Nexus 6P, Microsoft Lumia 950, Sony Xperia Z5, iPhone 6S and 6S plus entered Indian market last year among others. For Samsung which currently derives some 20 per cent of its sales from the premium category of smartphones in India, innovation in the segment is necessary.
While, it recently came up with a dual-SIM variant of its flagship Note 5, Sharma says, more such differentiating products and varieties are expected to be launched in 2016.
Overall, the company has decided to keep its focus on two strategies: India specific innovations in terms of products and services and establish its mobile ecosystem, apart from differentiation in the premium category. The India specific innovations will be based on consumer insights. J-series of smartphones which offers an ultra-light data mode is one such example. It helps users save data consumption through managing and encrypting data that are in use.
Introduction of various other accessories and entry into new categories will form part of the expansion of the company's ecosystem plan. Yesterday, it launched a range of smart watches and introduced a virtual reality device -– a first in India –- which can be synched with its smartphones. Samsung expects these efforts will help boost its smartphone sales, leading to higher revenue. “This ecosystem will have a positive effect on our flagship device sales”, Sharma said. According to Counter Point Research, in 2015, some 4,00,000 wearable devices were sold in India, of which 25 per cent were smart watches. The wearable devices market is expected to grow to two million units in 2016.
During 2015, Samsung launched seventeen 4G LTE devices in the Rs 8,000-60,000 price band. The company also put in place a dedicated online team, which now looks after its sales, marketing, distribution and new tie-ups for e-commerce. It is headed by Asim Warsi, its erstwhile mobile and IT head in India. According to estimates, at least 20 per cent of smartphones are now sold online in India.