Samsung rules. Let’s just digest this fact right away. There is nothing that is stopping this Korean giant to grow at an alarming speed. It has become a name as synonymous as Apple & Nokia is, or was globally. Majority of the buyers don’t refer retailers to give them an Android phone but they rather ask for a Samsung phone. To some extent, Samsung also deserves this credit as it is the largest manufacturer who made Android smartphones available to majority of the global population
Today, I’ll be talking about how did they meet this winning streak for the Indian market. Indulge with me as I unravel Samsung’s strategy to rule. Which in my honest opinion, is crazy, atrocious but it has managed to make them the market ruler.
Smartphones sales exceeds feature phone sales..
For the very first time, according to research firm IDC, smartphone sales have exceeded feature phones sales globally. As of April 2013, vendors shipped 216.2 million units of smartphones, which is 51.6% of the total 418.6 million phone shipments. Out of these, Samsung remains the undisputed leader after selling 70.7 million units in the first quarter of 2013 itself. This lead Samsung to become the largest smartphone vendor in the world with 32.7% market share, beating Apple, LG and other manufacturers.
In India too, as expected, Samsung remains an undisputed leader in the smartphone market. According to CMR, 15.2 million smartphones shipped in the country and Samsung has managed to capture 43.1% of it as compared to Nokia’s mere 13.3% share. It is interesting to note that this 43.1% does not include Samsung smartphones with screen sizes larger than 5-inch (Note, Note 2 & the tabs).
So we’ve got the facts right but what did Samsung really do to become the leader? Let’s find out.
Samsung’s decision to manufacture a smartphone for every sized hand..
To start with, my semi-delusional mind can only imagine Samsung’s CEO, Kwon Oh Hyun walking one day into a conference meeting and announcing this to everyone – Just make phones for every sized hand. That didn’t truly happen but that’s the only possible explanation.
For the Indian market, currently Samsung is selling over 61 handsets, out of which 46 are touch devices including smartphones, phablets and tablets. The remaining 15 make up for feature phones. Even the sound of ‘forty-six devices’ left us boggling to dig deeper. These forty-six touch devices have screen sizes which start from as low as 2.4 inches to 10.1 inches. It would have become too long to explain each sizes and the number of devices that account to them. So we decided to visualize all this data in an easy format.
In the image below, on the left are numbers representing display sizes in ‘inches’ and on the right, in the circles are the total number of devices which have that particular screen size. Go ahead, immerse yourself into what I call ‘Sam-adness’.
Feel free to use the infographic (link) as long as you give proper credits
So it turns out my semi-delusional imagination is true. The strategy of ‘Just make phones for every sized hand’ is followed by Samsung in a very religious way. There are touch devices for every range of display sizes. Right from the utterly disgusting size range of 2.0-3.0 inches, up until the range of 9.0-10.1 inches. The dominant display size is 3.0 inches with ten devices, followed by a tie between 2.8, 3.5 and 4.0 inch with five devices each.
Devices for both, the rags and the riches..
Every consumer doesn’t need a premium/luxury flagship device or more practically every consumer doesn’t have the budget to buy that premium smartphone. That’s exactly where Samsung comes in. They brought affordable as well as smaller phones to the market. In particular, they were the first one’s to do so with Android smartphones. People may have different preferences, hand sizes, utilities, etc. Samsung captured those different needs and today they’ve got phones for everyone at every different sizes/price point.
Larger devices at affordable price
Even a consumer demanding a large display device but isn’t able to shed much from his pocket, can get that exact type of phone from Samsung. For Samsung, all they have to do is lower down on the internal specs but make the screen larger. A consumer demanding a cheap Android phone/tablet, a premium phone, a dual-sim phone, a qwerty phone, a stylus phone etc. Samsung has got them all. These aren’t just examples but that’s how Samsung tends to work. The correct combination of consumer’s demand for the type of phone along with the required price, gets easily fulfilled from the vast array of devices lineup from Samsung. And this is the reason we see so many devices from the Korean company. The company’s ultimate goal seems to give what the consumer needs. From a consumer’s perspective, he/she gets variety not only in just form factors or features but also in prizes. The consumer doesn’t really care which manufacturer fulfills their need for the perfect phone. If Samsung is just providing what they need, then there’s nothing wrong on the consumers part for opting in to buy their devices. On the other hand, Samsung doesn’t ignore dealing with the greater competition like Apple. They tend to keep innovating through their flagship devices and offer them at premium price ranges and at the same time they don’t ignore the larger consumer demand for economical phones.
Devices at every price point..
As I told earlier, Samsung provides devices at each price point for the consumers. Have a look at number of devices they offer at different price ranges.
As it can be seen in the image, Samsung has tapped right into the ideal budget for a smartphone among Indian users: 5000 – 10,000 with sixteen devices to select from. Surprisingly, the second price group to follow is even a cheaper budget range of 2000-5000 with eight devices to select from. There’s no single price range that the company doesn’t cover for. One can call it variety or simply a cluttered market. Some consumers find it useful, some get annoyed. But the market seems to overall work in Samsung’s favor.
Samsung has faced criticism for its cheap-looking hardware since years. But as they say, there’s always a compromise to be made for achieving something. Here, for Samsung that compromise might be cheap-looking hardware but that reason hasn’t led to any downfall in their goodwill, neither have consumers stopped being loyal to the brand. More importantly, people haven’t stopped buying their phones due to this reason. Also, I’ve rarely heard complaints of a Samsung phone’s display getting cracked, or the phone getting severe internal damage by dropping due to it’s cheap-build hardware. There might be some quality compromise but the larger good of filing a consumer’s specific need fills up that negation. And Samsung knows that precisely.
To top it all, Samsung also makes sure the consumer knows about their products. The company’s got humongous marketing campaigns backed by unimaginable budgets and till date all their campaigns have paid off. Ultimately, Samsung has managed to make smartphones for every price range, every size range, with few compromises, thus delivering what the consumer demands. This is what drives them to be the market ruler.
A lot has been said about what we think on the strategy Samsung’s been following to win the crown of top smartphones seller. Do let us know what do you, as a buyer, think about this strategy.