Samsung is looking to aggressively expand its presence in the offline retail channel by adding more than 50,000 retailers to its network within this year. The South Korean handset maker is planning such a rapid expansion in order to limit the presence of Chinese rivals Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi in the offline retail segment. While Oppo and Vivo started by expanding their presence in offline retail, Xiaomi has been lately expanding itself into the offline market.
As the smartphone market shifts its focus from market share to volume growth, the major brands are looking for rapid expansion in the offline market. Samsung, on the other hand, is confident that no other brand will be able to reach the hinterlands of India, the way it can. According to Economic Times, the company has 1,50,000 retailers and it now plans to take that footprint to beyond 2,00,000 retailers by the end of this year.
“Some of our competitors that were only in online space, are now making big foray in offline. That’s the right strategy to have. As a brand, you need to give the consumer the choice,” Mohandeep Singh, senior VP, mobile business, Samsung India, told ET.
According to IDC, Xiaomi is the leader in India’s competitive smartphone market. The Chinese brand sells its devices offline over 40 cities and towns in India and is planning to further expand its presence with the start of new Mi Stores in rural locations. By the end of this year, Xiaomi plans to have opened 500 Mi Stores and a few thousand by next year, as it looks for offline market to increase volume growth.
Samsung’s competition is not just limited to Xiaomi but BBK Electronics-owned Oppo and Vivo are also looking to expand their presence in the offline retail segment. Huawei is also planning offline retail stores for its Honor-branded smartphones. In the coming months, the competition is only expected to intensify further.
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Samsung says, apart from expanding offline retail market, it will continue to partner with e-commerce giants, to sell more devices online. However, with competition setting its sights on the offline market, the company is not willing to go without a fight.