While the South Korean electronics giant still dominates the global smartphone market, Samsung has faced challenges in the mobile sector this year. The brand remains steady, supported by successes in categories like semiconductors, Smart TVs, and connected devices. Samsung is moving forward with a focus on creating products that define whole new categories and taking advantage of B2B opportunities.
With increased competition from Apple and lower-cost competitors in Asia, Samsung’s mobile division profits fell 37.6 percent in the second quarter, compared to the previous year. However, Q3 reports exceeded positive expectations, with overall revenues up KRW 4.23 trillion year-over-year (almost 9 percent), ending a two-year decline. Samsung is also enjoying the success of its semiconductor unit, with third quarter profits at KRW 3.66 trillion, compared to KRW 2.26 trillion last year. Samsung is now using its chips in its own smartphones and supplying big businesses like Apple, which will reportedly tap Samsung to make chips for the next-generation iPhone.
Samsung strives to stay competitive in the mobile market with its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones—touting features that rival the iPhone’s—and its phablets, the Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Plus. It’s also jumping on mobile payments with the worldwide release of Samsung Pay, which has an advantage over Apple Pay, as the new Galaxy phones work with old-school credit card readers, making the technology more universal.
But for Samsung, newness is the key to maintaining brand momentum. Its global “Next is Now” campaign built anticipation around the launch of its Galaxy phones by previewing its innovative features. Ads aired during the 2015 Oscars put a human spin on the cutting-edge technologies behind Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5 and the SUHD TV—its highest-definition set yet—highlighting how the products fuel creative processes and conversations. The ads align with a company-wide commitment to proving that digital innovation can enrich peoples’ lives. Its ongoing “Launching People” campaign, which shares the stories of people who use Samsung products to turn their visions into reality, won seven awards at this year’s Cannes festival.
Samsung is also tapping into the software market through its Open Innovation Center, with offices in South Korea, California, and New York. The centers are hubs where employees can scout start-ups to invest in, team with, or acquire—Samsung is the sole investor in start-ups that join its accelerators. The brand is also angling to become a leader in the expanding Internet of Things. At the 2015 CES, it pledged that 90 percent of all devices it creates, including televisions and mobile devices, will be Internet-enabled by 2017. It’s proving a key player with launches like the Gear S2, its seventh smartwatch; AddWash, an Internet-connected washing machine; SleepSense, a sleep tracker that you slip under your mattress; and the second-generation SmartThings home automation hub and sensors.
By creating products that empower people and broadening its business focus, Samsung is looking toward a future that goes well beyond smartphones.