Daily Management Review

Delay Of Tokyo Olympics A Setback For Samsung’s Plan For The Japanese Market


Delay Of Tokyo Olympics A Setback For Samsung’s Plan For The Japanese Market
South Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd had pinned its hopes and plans of making inroads into the lucrative Japanese market on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics games. Currently its rival Apple is the dominant market player in the Japanese market.
However the marketing plans of the company that were had been drawn up for the games around its new S20 smartphone have been dashed with the postponing of the games till 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
This postponement of the fames could also mean the loss of a crucial window of opportunity for the South Korean tech giant. The company has also reportedly planned to showcase its 5G capability in its Olympics ads with the aim of attracting customers to watch the Games with cutting-edge technology prior to the launch of 5G enabled phones by Apple.
“Samsung was keen to use the Olympics opportunity to get it right in Japan. In that sense, it’s a bad situation,” a person familiar with Samsung’s operations reportedly told the news agency Reuters. The source noted that plans of marketing will now have to be adjusted by Samsung and other sponsors.
“A lot of the momentum for smartphone demand in the lead-up to the Olympics will also be gone,” said the source who was not named in the Reuters report.
It is likely that Samsung will now rehash its Olympic games marketing strategy around a new flagship phone that the company is expected to come out with by next year, said former Samsung officials and analysts.
There was no comment available from Samsung over the issue of the impact of the Olympics postponement on its strategy for the Japan market. The company however said that it would continue to provide innovative technology for Japanese customers irrespective of when the sporting extravaganza would be announced and held.
Despite being the largest samrtphone maker of the world by volume, Samsung commands only a fraction of the Japanese smartphone market.
In comparison, its closest rival at the global stage, Apple recently has been able to gain market share in Japan because of an aggressive advertising and pricing campaign from SoftBank p- which was the sole distributor for the company ion the market. Apple had first entered the Japanese market with its iPhones in 2008.  Since then, Japan has been one of the premium markets for Apple as well as a crucial profit center.
According to Counterpoint Research, about 53 per cent of the Japanese smartphone market is currently owned by Apple and is followed by Sharp Corp with 12 per cent market share and Sony Corp with 7 per cent market share. Samsung has only about 4 per cent market share of the Japanese smartohone market.
According to analysts, one of the factors indicators of the struggles of Samsung in the market was a decision made by the company 2015 when it decided to drop its name from its smartphones for the Japanese market and use and promote only the Galaxy brand. Japan was the only market where Samsung has followed such a policy.  According to analysts, this decision was taken by the company because of sudden flare up of the historical tensions between South Korea and Japan.
“I believe they did so due to the growing number of Japanese consumers who take political factors into account in their purchase considerations,” said Shengtao Jin, a research analyst at Canalys.