Samsung Electronics agreed with Raya, B.Tech, and Mobile Shop to offer installments without down payments or interest. Installments will span over a period of 24 months on its mobile phones, according to the head of the company’s mobile devices sector, Hisham Abo Zeina.
He said the Egyptian market has promise despite its economic shocks, thanks to the purchasing power of nearly 90 million consumers, the majority being young people.
The mobile market has witnessed a decline in sales since the pound flotation, but indicators say that it will regain growth. How do you see the market this year?
We believe that the current circumstances are investment opportunities. We work to benefit from them to increase our investments and enlarge out market share. We are a large company and we rely on innovation. During the first five months of this year we launched several new devices from the A, A5, and A7 family, then we launched S8 and S8 Plus, so we have the ability to lead the growth of the smartphone market in Egypt, as our technological and marketing strength enable us to do so. For instance, we injected investments of more than EGP 3.5m into launching the two A phones early this year.
According to your indicators, what are your expectations for your sales this year?
We are currently moving steadily towards achieving a growth in sales compared to the same period last year, depending on innovation and the development of technology used by the company; however, I cannot mention figures currently. We expected the second quarter to witness growth compared to the same period last year.
What are your competitive advantages?
Having competitors is healthy for the market and consumers, but we mainly rely on providing high-technology phones in comparison to our competitors. We also provide products that are suitable for all price segments of local consumers, as well as accessories for sold devices so consumers feel like they get products worth the value they paid for.
We depend on the value-added services to support our sales in the market, where some major chains have agreed to offer installments on our products over 24 months without interest or a down payment. They include Raya, B.Tech and Mobile Shop.
We also entered into an agreement with Vodafone, Orange, and Etisalat to offer installments with a package to provide a data bundle on every Samsung phone.
We improved our post sales services, especially maintenance, because the current economic circumstances made more customers resort to maintaining their phones and prolonging the lives of their phones.
Currently, we are working to increase post-sale service centres across the country. We also provided the VIP service in maintenance. It allows consumers to replace their phones if any problem occurs, even if it’s a fault in the phone’s usage.
Are their plans to launch new products with medium prices?
At the end of 2016, after the flotation, we launched two new products, which are considered the cheapest with the 4G technology. Our products are characterized by diversity in terms of technology and price. We have products whose prices start at EGP 1,000, reaching EGP 16,000.
What makes the Egyptian market promising?
The population makes it promising, especially that the majority of the 90 million people are young people with more inclination to use technology. This makes the Egyptian market distinct in terms of the purchasing power.
Moreover, Egyptians are familiar with modern technology and love to own it, which also makes the market promising.
Are there agreements with mobile operators to support your smartphones with 4G?
Yes, cheap phones will be able to provide 4G. We started activating this agreement with Vodafone for the J1A and J1 mini devices. The same happened with Orange, and soon we will announce a meeting with Etisalat Misr. As for Telecom Egypt (TE), there is a technical aspect being considered with Samsung’s mother company in Korea, where there is a technical problem with TE’s networks.
What is your current market share?
It is 41.5% out of the sales of mobiles in the Egyptian market. Despite the decline in the market share, we are still number one, according to GFK indicators. The competitors with the numbers that are the nearest to us had declining growth rates over the past three months, so the gap between us is enlarging.
How do you see the usage trends of Egyptian consumers?
Egyptian consumers are distributed throughout several segments. One segment really cares about modern technology. It is the segment we target through our S8 phone, which represents a technological leap through the modern applications and solutions provided by the device.
What are the company’s target growth rates this year?
I will not be able to mention specific figures or percentages, but I will give you an example of our growth over the past period. Earlier this year, we launched two phones from the A family, and their sales achieved growth of more than 270% compared to the same A family products launched in 2016.
How do you learn about the interests of Egyptian consumers?
We carry out research in the market on a regular basis.
Some competitors choose certain features about the phone to be distinct for. Why do you not do the same?
We offer products that meet the needs of Egyptian consumers, whether in terms of technology or the features of the phone. I cannot say I am launching the phone with the best camera or such, in order to be honest with our customers.
How much money does the company spend annually on research and development?
The company has invested nearly $14.6bn in 2013 on research and development. That was the most recent figure announced by the company.