Mobiles & Tablets

Samsung expects to double online sales of mobile phones in H2

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on September 07, 2020 Published on September 07, 2020

Sees increased demand for higher-end devices as Indians spend more time on their mobiles

As Indians spend more time on their mobiles, Samsung is witnessing rising demand for phones with higher specs and better processing capacities.

A slew of launches keeping in mind such changed consumer preference and demand recovery has made the company hopeful of “doubling its online business” in the second half of this year, over the same period last year.

Flagships such as the ‘Note’ and ‘S’ series apart, the company is looking to increase the popularity of its ‘M’ series of smartphones — an 18-month-old series that was designed and made in India targeting online users.

Samsung has a 24 per cent share in the overall mobile phone market (smartphones and feature phones). It competes with the likes of Apple and OnePlus in the premium segment and with Xiaomi, RealMe, Vivo and Oppo across all segments.

Consumer behaviour

According to Asim Warsi, Senior Vice-President, Samsung India, the pandemic-induced lockdown and subsequent unlocking led to changes in consumer behaviour and buying preferences.

People are spending more time on their devices — be it watching movies, reading or creating and consuming content/games. The average Indian, who was spending 3.5 hours on his phone in 2019, is said to have increased the consumption by at least 25 per cent, to over 4 hours, around March 2020. Large screen devices with higher battery life are gaining popularity.

This has led to Samsung witnessing an inching up of its average selling price. The devices being preferred now are in the ₹15,000-₹18,000 range.

“We have seen the higher end of the M-series mix gaining traction and we are expecting a more than 50 per cent growth in the ASPs of the M-series phones,” Warsi told BusinessLine.

The company plans to launch its ninth smartphone (post unlocking) — the M51 — on September 10, targeting the mid-premium segment. Higher specification, faster processor, high resolution cameras and better battery life will be the USP. Devices will be available offline, too.

Increasing demand

According to an IDC report, the surge in mobile phone demand is expected to continue throughout the first half of Q3 2020, requiring a steady supply of devices in the market. Markets are expected to show signs of recovery in the second half of the year, and as the festival quarter approaches, a majority of the consumers will be looking to buy low-end and mid-range devices.

“We expect to go into the festival season with new devices that cater to the current demand trends. After the pandemic-induced lockdown hit sales in H1, we are witnessing a demand recovery,” said Warsi.

Incidentally, India is said to have witnessed zero smartphone sales in April, amid Lockdown 1.0. The June quarter saw a sharp decline of 50.6 per cent in mobile phone sales and supply chain disruptions even when the lockdown was lifted.

Normalising supplies

According to Warsi, Samsung has “rapidly normalised supplies” against a “huge pent-up demand”. Different consumer facing initiatives were also introduced that saw it gain market share.

“In a two-year period, we expect the M series to clock close to $3.5 billion worth of sales — in terms of gross merchandise value — in India,” he added.

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Published on September 07, 2020
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