Pierce: Galaxy S6 handsets will reignite dull UK market

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Samsung’s newly UK and Ireland boss says it will learn from mistakes and form deeper relationships with retailers, operators and distributors

The launch of the new Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge next month will provide a significant boost to a UK market, having suffered from a lack of innovation in recent years.

This was the claim from newly appointed UK and Ireland mobile and IT vice president Conor Pierce (pictured), speaking in Barcelona less than three weeks into the job.

Pierce, who quit Microsoft in October, said ‘world first’ features on the new range of devices, plus a design never seen before in the smartphone space will help drive interest.

“It is not just about re-setting the bar in terms of design but also all about the world-first features we’re bringing. They have the best screen, one of the most advanced cameras and we have introduced wireless charging. They are also 50 per cent faster than the S5, consume 30 per cent less power and the audio is one-and-a-half times louder, so it is a significant step up.

“The UK market, in particular, whilst it is incredibly competitive, needs a big boost in terms of design innovation, and the S6 and S6 edge are perfect examples of how we can achieve that.”

Change of strategy

Pierce has also hinted at possible changes to the retailers, operators and distributors it works with in a bid to better its performance.

He said the manufacturer will learn from its past mistakes by working closer with partners and employing a more focused strategy.

Pierce said Samsung will learn from last year and admitted the manufacturer needs “much deeper relationships” than it has had with its partners in the past.

Samsung’s performance in the smartphone space was below expectations with some reports suggesting sales of the S5 were 40 per cent below expectation.

According to figures from analyst Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, it was overtaken by Apple last September as the UK’s leading smartphone manufacturer by sales share.

That lead stretched to nearly 18 per cent at the end of last year, with Samsung’s share falling 8.5 per cent year-on-year to 24.5 per cent, while Apple’s share rose 14 per cent over the 12 months to 42.4 per cent off the back of strong iPhone 6 sales.

Much deeper involvement

“We are now becoming much more involved strategically with our retail, operator and distribution partners, and we need to have a much deeper relationship than we have had with them in the past. We will listen to them, their strategy and how we can bring more value.”

“The market is consolidating with what’s happening in retail and the operator space. There is lots of movement, and when I see change like that, I see significant opportunity.

“We have to focus on where our phones will sell best – what’s the channel, where is the activation, what can we do in that channel to deliver that activation, where is the value for the consumer: we measure net promoter score and retention rates.

“Where is the market going, especially when you look at the evolution towards smart technology and the Internet of Things.

My eyes are always open and even if we make some changes, we need to ensure we make the right changes and work with those partners to deliver the success we expect.”

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