This is Samsung’s new plan to take on Xaiomi’s Redmi Note 6 Pro, Redmi 6A and othersThis is Samsung’s new plan to take on Xaiomi’s Redmi Note 6 Pro, Redmi 6A and othersDanish Khan The company’s new M-series of smartphones will be targeted at ‘millennials’, who are flocking to ecommerce platforms to buy smartphones. | ET Bureau | Updated: Jan 14, 2019, 08:41AM IST
NEW DELHI: Samsung plans to launch three handsets which will be available exclusively online, at prices starting from less than Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000, as part of a renewed ecommerce push on the part of the South Korean firm to reclaim the top spot from the dominant Chinese rival Xiaomi.
The company’s new M-series of smartphones will be targeted at ‘millennials’, who are flocking to ecommerce platforms to buy smartphones, a customer segment that played a major role in helping Xiaomi outpace Samsung. Millennials comprise people who reached adulthood in the early 21st century.
“The new series is designed around India’s millennial consumers. We expect to double our online business. That’s a significant jump in our online part,” said Asim Warsi, senior vice-president, Samsung India.
He said that Samsung will continue to focus on its offline channel where it is deeply established. “That doesn’t change per se. The move is about focusing more on the consumers,” he said.
Asked about the recent tightening of foreign direct investment (FDI) rules in India’s ecommerce policy, which seeks to bring pricing parity between online and offline channels, Warsi said, “Our business approach will conform to the new policy.”
Xiaomi has managed to maintain a steady lead over Samsung for over a year now, with a 27.3% market share compared to its rival’s 22.6% in the July-September 2018 period, buoyed by a nearly 50% share in the online segment and rapid expansion in its bricks-andmortar channel as well, according to IDC. Asked whether the latest series will help the company drive sales and get more market share, Warsi said, “Market share is a byproduct of various actions and business efforts that go in.”
He said that Samsung finished the October-December 2018 quarter with 40% market share by value, as per GFK data, with a “healthy growth over the previous year”. Neil Shah, research director, devices and ecosystems at Counterpoint Research, however, expressed scepticism about Samsung’s chances to break Xiaomi’s hold on the ecommerce segment, saying the South Korean company is a year late with this series since the average selling prices online have moved beyond Rs 10,000.
“This new series would have done well for Samsung in the offline channel, which contributes to around 80% of its handset sales in India… Samsung’s only chance in the online channel is if it matches the pricing and specification of players like Xiaomi to offer better value for money,” Shah said, suggesting that Samsung could bundle accessories and services.
Samsung, on its part, is pulling out all the stops with this new series, introducing a 5,000 mAh battery in a device for the first time, packed with fast charging. One of the three devices will also come with a three-camera set-up.