Korean electronics major Samsung is betting big on its latest flagship devices Galaxy S9 and S9+ to further consolidate its position in the premium smartphone category in India.
Samsung will retail the devices in the country from March 16 through online and offline channels, priced at Rs 57,900 onwards. The handsets were introduced a couple of days back in Barcelona, Spain.
The phones, which will compete with high-end devices like Apple’s iPhone X and Google s Pixel 2 series, is packed with features like dual aperture, slow motion video options, Dolby Atmos surround sound capabilities and AR emojis.
Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will be offered at a price of Rs 57,900 and Rs 64,900 respectively for 64GB variants and Rs 65,900 and Rs 72,900 respectively for 256GB variants.
“The S8 (previous generation) was our most successful flagship, we saw record sales in India. The S9 and S9+ have cutting-edge features… In 2017, we had 55 per cent value share and 58 per cent volume share (as per GfK data) of the premium segment and this launch will help us further strengthen our position in the category,” Samsung India Senior VP, Mobile Business Asim Warsi told PTI. He added that the handsets sold locally will be ‘Made in India’.
“We have partnered Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio to bring LTE carrier aggregation where spectrum across different bands merge into one single pipe, allowing faster streaming… The phones can stream data at about 250Mbps, which is about 2.5 times faster than the average smartphone connected to the same network,” he said.
The company is also introducing a new loyalty programme, Samsung Rewards, to offer reward points to users when they transact using Samsung Pay. These points can be redeemed for movie tickets, shopping and F&B outlets.
“India is central to our vision and priorities. That is why we are bringing these flagship devices to India in the first phase itself with other markets like the US and Korea… Since the unveiling in February-end, we have already received interest from 3 lakh people for the device,” Warsi said.
Galaxy S9 will come with 5.8-inch display, 4GB RAM, 12MP rear and 8MP front cameras and 3,000 mAh battery.
The S9+, on the other hand, features 6.2-inch display, 6GB RAM, 12MP rear and front cameras, and 3,500 mAh battery. Both devices support expandable memory of up to 400GB.
According to research firm Counterpoint, the premium smartphone segment (priced Rs 30,000 onwards) in India witnessed over 20 per cent growth in 2017 over 2016. The Rs 10,000-15,000 category grew at the fastest pace.
The premium category was the second fastest growing segment (20 per cent year-on-year) by volume, while it expanded by 28 per cent in value terms in 2017, Counterpoint said.
The report added that three brands – Apple, OnePlus and Samsung – still contribute to 94 per cent of the overall premium market segment.
Overall, Chinese rival Xiaomi had toppled Samsung to take the numero uno spot in India in terms of shipment in the December 2017 quarter with analyst firms like Counterpoint attributing Xiaomi’s success to aggressive pricing and effective channel expansion strategy.
However, Samsung had maintained that it is India s Number 1 smartphone company by a distance. “The only C we are focused on is consumer, and not competition… our biggest competitor is us. Twice a year we break the orbit with Galaxy S and Note series and it is not an easy pursuit,” Warsi said.