By Mohamed Alaa Eldin
Samsung Group aims to increase its market share of mobile phone sales in Egypt from 40% in 2014 to 50% by 2015. After launching its latest product, the Note 4, last Wednesday the company plans to expand its smart phone sales to acquire 75% of market sales.
According to Head of Sales for Samsung Electronics Egypt Tamer ElGamal, the company expects monthly growth in the Egyptian market by at least 5% in the coming period. During his interview with Daily News Egypt, he confirmed that the most important challenges faced the company during 2015 are maintaining its forefront in Egyptian market sales.
What are the basic points of Samsung’s plans in Egypt for 2015?
The company’s strategic objectives are different each year. One of them involves the product we offer to the customer and how we upgrade technology for the product itself, as well as launching new devices. We also plan to continue lowering prices of our products for the benefit of purchasing power for the Egyptian consumer.
Samsung is working on providing products to the local market with prices similar to other markets abroad to fit Egyptian financial capabilities. Prices for new technology devices normally go down alongside technological developments, which complements the company’s strategy of suiting all social classes within the Egyptian market.
The second point of the company’s local strategy is to expand the use of smart phones across the country, especially in light of increasing growth for smart phone sales.
What is Samsung’s market share at the moment?
Samsung has acquired 40% of the total mobile market locally, and more than 65% of the smart phone market.
What is your plan to maintain and increase your market share?
We plan to provide for the needs and demands of the consumer through devices’ specifications and pricing, which brings us closer to the consumer. We also plan to maintain our quick responses in order to fulfil consumers’ demands. During 2015, we aim to increase Samsung sales in the mobile phones market by 10% compared to last year, to increase our share to 50%. Meanwhile, we expect an increase in the sales of the smart phones sector by more than 75%.
Daily, weekly, and monthly reports are written by research companies that we work with, research centre employees in Samsung’s different offices, and our authorised agent partners.
Samsung Group spends $13.6bn annually on research and development operations around the world, while 25% of its employees work only in the research sector to allow the company to launch new technologies to fulfil customers’ needs.
Does the Egyptian market have sufficient devices in the smart phones sector?
The Egyptian market is huge, and smart phone users do not exceed 40% of mobile users in general, which allows space for fast growth opportunities during the upcoming period. Current smart phone users now need to change their devices in order to make use of the new technology, which in turn creates constant demand for smart phones. As a result, there will not be a sufficient number of devices in the Egyptian smart phones market in the near future.
Thanks to smart phones, the percentage of Internet users in Egypt has doubled.
What is the size of mobile sales in Egypt?
17 million mobile phones will be sold in Egypt by the end of this year, while smart phones sales will reach around 600,000-700,000 per month.
Does competition take place between smart phones and tablets?
Smart phones represent the development of old mobile phones, forming an advancement parallel to customers’ expanding needs, while tablets are a technological expansion of computers. So neither affects the sales of the other.
Tablets are expected to lead to a decrease in computer sales over the coming years. This is a global trend associated with technological advancement and a fast-paced lifestyle that expands customer demand for devices that fulfil their life needs.
What are projected growth rates for the mobile market?
The Egyptian market is growing on a monthly basis with mobile device sales growing at a rate between 5-7%. Samsung is aiming for sales growth rates to exceed 10% per month. It is also expected that the market will gradually recover to pre-2011 levels by the end of the first half of 2015.
What are the main features that Egyptian consumers want in a smart phone?
Screen size is one of the most important factors in the decision to purchase for Egyptians, who prefer phones with big screens, large storage capacity, high-resolution camera, price, and processing capacity.
What are the most important pillars of your marketing plans for the next phase?
During the next phase, we will focus on supporting our marketing plans through more traffic and building relationships based on mutual benefit with encouraging sales incentives. We hope to create a need within the market for Samsung products which in turn will increase sales for the distributer and the company at the same time.
What are the main challenges that Samsung will face locally during 2015?
The main challenges include maintaining and increasing our market share. Egypt’s economic growth will allow new consumer groups to acquire smart phones, and as the mobile network services improve, customers will rush to buy Smart-phones and tablets. The presence of 4G network will help expand sales and the proliferation of Smart-phones.
What are your plans to develop after-sales services?
We have bold plans to increase the number of points after sales, and we aim to increase the number of customer service points from 280 points to 560 points by the end of 2015.
What is the reason for the decline in the market value of Samsung devices during short periods of time?
The reason is the continuous development of technology. The Egyptian market has become a leading market for access to cutting-edge technology from Samsung, which relatively decreases the value of older devices as they become obsolete. Technology is currently experiencing an accelerated development.
How do you view economic conditions in Egypt at present?
In 2011, Samsung was the only company to pump new investments into Egypt by constructing its Beni Suef Factory and launching several new products, most notably the Galaxy Note family, which was first released in 2011.
The stabilisation of the economic situation in the country will widen growth rates with the sector as well as sales, which means that Egypt has new opportunities to obtain advanced technology consistent with the needs of its consumers.
What are your latest products in the Egyptian market?
The Galaxy Note 4, which was launched on Wednesday .
What are the main features of the device?
The Note 4 features a new design and a smooth, skin-like modern texture, a metal frame that gives it strength and hardness, and high quality screen colours to grant the user a better view. It comes in four colours: white, black, pink and gold.
In terms of the camera, it has been developed from 13 megapixels for the Note 3 to 16 megapixels for the Note 4. Additionally, Samsung hopes to release devices with a front camera of between 3-8 megapixels. The Note 4 also features a pen two times as sensitive as that of the Note 3 which can be used to write in a simple and easy manner. The pen was tested in Arabic before its release to make sure that it would suit with the Egyptian market.
Samsung also developed the battery’s capacity to grant the user a longer usage period than that of the device’s predecessors. The battery can charge from 0 to 50% in half an hour, while similar smart phones require about an hour for a 0 to 50% charge.
How has the Selfie phenomenon spread? And how has Samsung prepared for it?
The Selfie phenomenon spread during the 2013 Oscar’s Awards when a journalist took a picture of a group of celebrities taking a Selfie using the Galaxy Note 3 on the red carpet, and it soon became a tradition shared in by friends and family or even solo.
Samsung always seeks to meet consumers’ needs, which is what pushed Samsung to include a front camera with 3.7 megapixels in the Note 4 while also developing the front camera imaging angle to give users the ability to take better Selfies. A Galaxy Note 4 one can take a Selfie with half a football stadium in the background using the front camera of the device.
Will there be another Note family product in the future?
There will be Note 5, 6, and 7 in the near future. Samsung sets itself apart from its smart phone competitors with this interactive pen.