Samsung’s focus on premium is paying dividends, says boss

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UK and Ireland chief claims “tide is turning” and that it now has leadership in sights

Samsung says it reaping the rewards from its decision last year to cut down its product portfolio and focus on the ‘premium’ end of the smartphone market.

The Korean manufacturer unveiled its latest high-end device last week in London, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. This followed its best quarterly results (for the three months ending June) since Q2 2014 – fuelled by the success of the Galaxy S7.

Profits surged
The results showed Samsung mobile profits surged by 57 per cent to 4.32 trillion won (£2.9 billion).

Analyst IDC has estimated Samsung sold 77 million smartphones in the quarter – almost twice as many as Apple’s 40.4 million iPhone sales – driven by the  popularity of the recent flagship devices.

Samsung-MWC
Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S7 range at Mobile World congress in February

According to Strategy Analytics, the S7 edge was the world’s best selling Android smartphone in the first half of this year, shipping an estimated 13.3 million units.

“We made a decision to change direction from a mass portfolio to very much focusing on premium,” Samsung’s UK and Ireland VP of IT and mobile Conor Pierce (pictured main) said during the launch of its new reseller Partner Programme.

“I’m very happy to say the tide is very much turning to our advantage. We definitely have some strong winds in our sails.

“The forecast is that the overall UK market this year will be worth $10 billion (£7.5 billion), two thirds of which will be made up of premium smartphones, hence the reason we are so focused on that segment. From the Galaxy S6 and S7, we have managed to grow significantly in premium.”

Switching
Pierce added Samsung has seen a record number of customers switching from the iPhone to the Galaxy S6 and S7, although refused to back up his claims with figures. Apple boss Tim Cook made similar claims for the iPhone SE in its Q2 financial results.

Samsung remains the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, ahead of Apple with 22.4 per cent compared with Apple’s 11.8 per cent.

In the UK, Apple is the most dominant player, with around a 35 per cent share. Figures for Samsung were not available, but Pierce believes that it is fast closing in on its rival.

“There have been some hard-fought battles and there are many more to come. It’s been a hard battle – we had been a challenger but we now have sight of leadership.”

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