Samsung UK and Ireland director Mark Mitchinson wants to capture 15 per cent of the Irish market by the end of next year.
He described 2008’s push for market share in Ireland as his “personal mission”, and said Samsung Mobile will restructure its Irish management team, install an Ireland country manager and launch handsets and advertising campaigns that specifically target the Irish market.
“Our market share in Ireland is very small – it fluctuates between about three per cent and 10 per cent, which is significantly lower than our share in the UK, where we are pushing 30 per cent. Although the UK and Ireland are very close in proximity, we’re miles apart in terms of handset markets,” said Mitchinson.
He pointed up the differences in distribution between the UK, where the market is network-led, and Ireland, where distributors dominate all channels to market. “There are obvious benefits, but also potential pitfalls in working that way, but that’s how it works and will continue to work,” said Mitchinson.
Samsung will dangle “more value-added incentives” to its Irish distribution partners next year.
“Irish customers want Samsung to come into the market more. Irish customers are being deprived of Samsung handsets. There will be some customers that will be a bit reluctant, because things haven’t changed over there for years. But I’m prepared to go all out to change the dynamics of how we work there.
“I’m very bullish and going to be very aggressive in this market. We’re looking to change the perception that Irish customers have of Samsung. As it stands, Nokia is the strongest player, and the manufacturer whose market share I will reduce. Nokia has a market share in Ireland of 60 per cent, which is healthy for Nokia, but unhealthy for the market.”
He added: “There’s only one of me. Until recently, I have focussed 100 per cent of my time on the UK. Having people on the ground in Ireland is really key.”