SEOUL: For Samsung, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics had been going to be its springboard to achieve a long-held purpose – making vital inroads into Japan’s profitable smartphone market the place Apple dominates.
However after the Video games had been postponed to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the long-time sponsor’s advertising and marketing plans – centered on its new S20 smartphone now out too early – have gone awry.
The delay may additionally imply the South Korean tech large has misplaced an important window of alternative. It had been anticipated to tout its 5G functionality in its Olympics adverts, aiming to draw a inhabitants excited to look at the Video games with cutting-edge know-how earlier than Apple had a 5G product available on the market.
“Samsung was keen to use the Olympics opportunity to get it right in Japan. In that sense, it’s a bad situation,” an individual accustomed to Samsung’s operations advised Reuters, noting that Samsung and different sponsors must regulate plans.
“A lot of the momentum for smartphone demand in the lead-up to the Olympics will also be gone,” mentioned the individual, who was not authorised to talk on the matter and declined to be recognized.
Former Samsung officers and analysts mentioned Samsung will probably return to the drafting board to advertise a brand new flagship telephone due out subsequent 12 months.
When requested in regards to the impression of the Olympics postponement on its technique for the Japanese market, Samsung declined to remark, saying solely it will proceed to present modern know-how for Japanese prospects no matter when the Video games start.
Samsung would be the world’s No. 1 smartphone maker by quantity but it surely has only a fraction of the Japanese market.
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In distinction, Apple which first started promoting the iPhone in Japan in 2008, gained share due to an aggressive promoting and pricing marketing campaign from SoftBank- on the time its sole distributor. Japan has since turn out to be a loyal premium market and key revenue middle for the US agency.
Apple presently instructions 53% of the Japanese market, Sharp has 12% and Sony has 7%, in keeping with Counterpoint Analysis. Samsung, which has misplaced floor since 2013, has 4%.
Indicative of Samsung’s struggles was its 2015 resolution to drop its title from smartphones offered in Japan and simply go together with Galaxy branding – the one market the place it does so. It’s a transfer some analysts attribute to historic tensions that always flare up between South Korea and its neighbor.
“I believe they did so due to the growing number of Japanese consumers who take political factors into account in their purchase considerations,” mentioned Shengtao Jin, a analysis analyst at Canalys.
In its run at Apple’s stronghold, Samsung had laid the groundwork for a concerted marketing campaign.
In March final 12 months, it opened the world’s greatest Galaxy retailer in Harajuku, Tokyo’s common procuring district for youth vogue and popular culture.
Boasting eight flooring, the glitzy constructing has an exterior embellished with greater than 1,000 smartphones.
Samsung’s cellular and community division Chief Koh Dong-jin, officers from the Worldwide Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 organizers attended the opening ceremony to mark 500 days till the Video games.
Then in Might, Samsung’s inheritor and de facto head, Jay. Y Lee traveled to Japan, assembly with executives from cellular carriers NTT DoCoMo and KDDI Corp to debate 5G cooperation.
DoCoMo and SoftBank the home telecom arm of SoftBank Group are presently rolling out 5G providers. However the delay of the Video games means 5G will not be anticipated to achieve momentum till Apple launches a 5G-capable iPhone, analysts mentioned.
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That telephone is anticipated to reach by end-2020, although some media experiences have mentioned it could be delayed by the pandemic.
“Samsung could have taken an early lead in 5G but the Games postponement is a setback,” mentioned Jeong Okay-hyun, a former LG cellular govt and a professor at Sogang College in Seoul.
“The virus could also lead to delays in the development of the 5G market, which will be a relief to Apple.”
In the intervening time, it stays to be seen if Samsung will proceed with plans to promote a particular Olympics version S20 telephone with 5G functionality. The telephone to be offered by DoCoMo was on account of be launched in June and Samsung started taking pre-orders this month.
Requested if the plan is on observe, Samsung mentioned particulars might be decided after discussions with the IOC and DoCoMo.