Saturday, May 18, 2024

Samsung set to open more premium experience stores in India

New Delhi: The local arm of South Korean electronics major Samsung is set to open 15 premium experience stores in nine markets as it sees demand for more premium mobile phones, refrigerators and washing machines in the country’s top cities.

To be sure, Samsung already sells its products via a network of 1,700 brand shops that are Samsung stores operated by its franchise partners. These stores typically retail the brand’s entire product range. This is apart from selling its electronic items via large multi-brand electronic chains, small stores and e-commerce platforms.

In 2018 it started opening large experience stores stocking its more premium products after the company reported greater demand for such electronics. Demand for premium smartphones and home appliances has grown post-covid prompting the company to expand its network of experience stores.

“Just about pre-covid we started seeing the purchasing power of consumers go up, from a lifestyle perspective and also from the tech perspective, consumer needs are evolving. As a result, we started seeing a radical shift towards premium products,” Sumit Walia, Senior Director, D2C Business, Samsung India, said in an interview with Mint on Thursday.

Sales of premium products at the company’s network of 1,700 brand stores more than doubled between 2019 and 2021 as consumers upgraded to better appliances. Overall, consumers moved to buy large screen television, pricey smartphones and other devices as they spent more time indoors prompting higher usage of their electronic devices. Premium products typically include large capacity refrigerators, washing machines with advanced features or smartphones priced above 30,000, for instance.

“Pre-covid, we were seeing 32–33% of goods sold via our brand shop that were premium. Cut to 2021-2022, this number doubled; from 32–33% we’ve got nearly 60-65% customers looking for premium products in our brand shops,” he said. “We were actually not expecting such kind of acceleration on the premium side—post covid lifestyles have changed, expectations of having home automation, more connected devices has increased,” he added.

Currently, Samsung operates two such stores in India—in New Delhi and Bengaluru, respectively. New stores, that will be operated by the company’s franchise partners, will come up in Mumbai, Pune, Chennai Ahmedabad and Chandigarh, among other cities by the end of this year.

In January, Samsung India inaugurated its largest premium experience store in North India in Connaught Place, New Delhi.

The experience store essentially showcases Samsung’s complete product ecosystem through zones such as connected living, smartphones, audio, gaming, lifestyle screens and wearables, among others, showcasing its multi-device connectivity with SmartThings. The concept, Walia said, appeals to younger consumers and those looking to replace existing appliances.

The store in Connaught Place, for instance, is spread over two floors, across 3,500 sq ft of space. The Connaught Place store opened after Samsung revamped the Samsung Opera House Bengaluru store; which now also houses a Starbucks coffee shop.

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