South Korean electronics major Samsung intends to double its retail footprint in India by expanding both exclusive and partner-run stores. A senior executive said in an interview that the company aims to grow its store count from 2,500 to 5,000 by the end of this year, focusing on selling premium televisions in tier 2 and 3 cities.
“We will be present across all channels, but we are focussing on expanding our offline store network. Until last year, we had approximately 2,500 retail partner stores for selling QLED televisions. This year, we will be at 5,000,” said Mohandeep Singh, senior vice president of Consumer Electronics Business, Samsung India.
Apart from doubling its retail presence, Samsung plans to expand the number of “experience centres” from two to 15 this year, said Singh. On Wednesday, the firm introduced a new range of premium QLED, or quantum dot LED, and neo-QLED TVs for the Indian market, following the unveiling at the Consumer Electronics Show 2023 in Las Vegas earlier this year. The TV lineup starts at ₹1.42 lakh and utilizes quantum dots in front of regular LED backlight panels to enhance colours.
Singh said its store footfalls have risen since the pandemic, and premium products typically perform better in-store, as customers prefer to ‘touch and feel them’ before purchasing. He also sees a premiumization trend in the TV market, extending beyond the metros and tier 1 cities.
“Demand in smaller cities is growing as fast as larger cities and, at times, even faster.” For instance, Davangere, Gorakhpur, Bathinda and Dibrugarh are some of the smaller towns where Samsung is seeing a growing demand for premium televisions.
According to Counterpoint Research, smart TV shipments saw 28% growth from a year ago in 2022. Samsung was the second-largest smart TV brand, accounting for 10.2% of the shipments, while China’s Xiaomi led the market with a 10.5% share.
Samsung saw an increasing preference for big-screen TVs, and a “rapid transition” from 32-inch to 43-inch ultra-high definition televisions, Singh said. “Consumers are also opting for larger-screen TVs, and premium buyers are upgrading to premium technologies such as QLED and 8K.”
Televsions above 55 inches witnessed 150% growth during 2020- 2022, while the 65-inch segment saw a 200% increase, and 75-inch category surged by over 300%.
The company expects its QLED TV business, which is part of its most premium lines, to grow by 2x in 2023. Televisions with 8K resolutions also saw 2x growth for Samsung last year, and the firm plans to take this to 3x this year.