2020 Tokyo Olympics Delay Deals Setback to Samsung’s Plans to Win Over Japan Market

For Samsung Electronics, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics ended up likely to be its springboard to achieve a extensive-held target – creating sizeable inroads into Japan’s lucrative smartphone marketplace where Apple dominates.

But soon after the Games ended up postponed to 2021 owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the extensive-time sponsor’s marketing strategies – centred on its new Galaxy S20 smartphone now out too early – have long gone awry.

The delay may well also imply the South Korean tech huge has shed a very important window of possibility. It experienced been envisioned to tout its 5G functionality in its Olympics ads, aiming to entice a populace excited to check out the Games with chopping-edge engineering right before Apple experienced a 5G product or service on the marketplace.

“Samsung was keen to use the Olympics possibility to get it right in Japan. In that feeling, it’s a negative problem,” a human being acquainted with Samsung’s operations explained to Reuters, noting that Samsung and other sponsors would have to change strategies.

“A good deal of the momentum for smartphone demand in the guide-up to the Olympics will also be long gone,” mentioned the human being, who was not authorised to converse on the matter and declined to be discovered.

Former Samsung officers and analysts mentioned Samsung will possible go back again to the drawing board to promote a new flagship telephone owing out up coming year.

When asked about the affect of the Olympics postponement on its strategy for the Japan marketplace, Samsung declined to comment, declaring only it would proceed to deliver innovative engineering for Japanese clients no matter of when the Games commence.

Samsung may well be the world’s No. one smartphone maker by quantity but it has just a fraction of the Japanese marketplace.

In contrast, Apple which initially commenced promoting the Iphone in Japan in 2008, gained share many thanks to an aggressive promoting and pricing campaign from SoftBank – at the time its sole distributor. Japan has because come to be a loyal top quality marketplace and critical financial gain centre for the U.S. organization.

Apple at present instructions fifty three percent of the Japanese marketplace, Sharp has 12 percent and Sony has seven %, according to Counterpoint Analysis. Samsung, which has shed floor because 2013, has 4 %.

Harajuku hopes
Indicative of Samsung’s struggles was its 2015 determination to fall its identify from smartphones offered in Japan and just go with Galaxy branding – the only marketplace where it does so. It can be a shift some analysts attribute to historic tensions that frequently flare up in between South Korea and its neighbour.

“I imagine they did so owing to the escalating range of Japanese shoppers who get political variables into account in their obtain considerations,” mentioned Shengtao Jin, a study analyst at Canalys.

In its run at Apple’s stronghold, Samsung experienced laid the groundwork for a concerted campaign.

In March very last year, it opened the world’s largest Galaxy store in Harajuku, Tokyo’s popular buying district for youth fashion and pop tradition. Boasting 8 flooring, the glitzy developing has an exterior embellished with a lot more than one,000 smartphones. Samsung’s cell and network division chief Koh Dong-jin, officers from the Global Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 organisers attended the opening ceremony to mark 500 days till the Games.

Then in May, Samsung’s heir and de facto head, Jay. Y Lee travelled to Japan, conference with executives from cell carriers NTT DoCoMo Inc and KDDI Corp to focus on 5G cooperation.

DoCoMo and SoftBank Corp, the domestic telecom arm of SoftBank Team, are at present rolling out 5G products and services. But the delay of the Games indicates 5G is not envisioned to acquire momentum till Apple launches a 5G-able Iphone, analysts mentioned.

That telephone is envisioned to arrive by close-2020, however some media stories have mentioned it may well be delayed by the pandemic.

“Samsung could have taken an early guide in 5G but the Games postponement is a setback,” mentioned Jeong Okay-hyun, a former LG cell executive and a professor at Sogang University in Seoul.

“The virus could also guide to delays in the improvement of the 5G marketplace, which will be a aid to Apple.”

For the time being, it remains to be viewed if Samsung will progress with strategies to provide a distinctive Olympics edition Galaxy S20 telephone with 5G functionality. The telephone to be offered by DoCoMo was owing to be released in June and Samsung commenced using pre-orders this thirty day period.

Requested if the plan is on observe, Samsung mentioned specifics will be identified soon after conversations with the IOC and DoCoMo.

© Thomson Reuters 2020