Samsung’s mobile boss for Ireland and the UK has said the company is not expecting disruption to the supply of its new products as a result of the Coronavirus.
Conor Pierce was speaking days after the tech giant launched a suite of revamped flagship smartphones, including a new foldable device.
Mr Pierce said Samsung’s mobile division is less reliant on components from China than other manufacturers.
The firm produces a lot of its own parts, he said, with most made in Vietnam and some in Korea.
As a result, he said he was not anticipating supply “pinch points” over the next busy weeks, as the company fulfills orders for the new Samsung Galaxy S20 range and Galaxy Z Flip.
The new S20 devices are 5G ready and Mr Pierce said he is optimistic for the prospects of 5G adoption, with research showing that 90% of people are aware of 5G, 85% are interested in it and 25% have already considered purchasing a 5G capable device.
“I’ve been in the business a long time now and 2G to 3G, 3G to 4G and 4G to 5G have all heralded a new era,” Samsung’s Corporate Vice-President, UK and Ireland
He predicted that while there will be strong uptake of 5G this year, next year will be more significant.
In the UK last year, hundreds of thousands of pounds was spent on 5G handsets, Mr Pierce said, but this year it will be millions.
So while this year will represent a “huge step forward”, next year will be bigger, he anticipated.
He added that he thinks rollout of 5G here is moving quickly enough, and that Ireland is a good place to try new ideas out.
The Samsung executive said it is his belief that there is an onus on mobile manufacturers to not only provide the hardware for 5G, but also develop services that utilize the download speeds, low latency and capacity the technology offers.
Asked whether the difficulties experienced by Huawei over the past year had proven beneficial for Samsung, Mr Pierce indicated that it is his belief that competition is good.
But he added that Samsung had benefited.
“I think it has been an opportunity for Samsung,” he claimed.
“In Ireland and the UK last year, we achieved the highest user base for Samsung ever.”
He added that Samsung’s security credentials, including its Knox suite of features had given it an advantage.
Samsung’s share of the mobile market here increased again last year, with 7-8% of Samsung UK and Ireland’s revenue from mobile comes from here.
Mr Pierce said that when it came to developing its new range of premium Galaxy S20 range of smartphones, Samsung had listened to consumers.
In the past it had only produced two models, he said, but now there is three for choice, with new colour and capacity options and featuring both 4G and 5G.
Pre-orders have been really strong, he claimed, particularly for the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
He said the number one purchase driver for a smartphone is its camera and Samsung had “over indexed” on the camera on the new range.
With high-end smartphones getting more and more expensive, many experts have questioned whether we have reached the upper limit of what consumers are willing to pay.
“I think there’s a fine balance between the price set and features on offer,” he said.
He added that Samsung addresses all price points in the market across its range of budget and mid-range handsets.
Samsung has also begun taking utilizing the residual value of smartphones when people want to trade up, offering trade-in options to help people bridge the price gap, he explained.
The company also has finance, interest-free credit and extended contract options available through some partners.
Among the other devices unveiled by Samsung this week was a new generation of folding screen phone.
Mr Pierce predicts that demand for folding phones will be big as people want a large screen but a smaller form factor.
“I think in time fold phones will become business as usual,” he said.
The new version of the folding screen has undergone extensive testing, he claimed, following last year’s difficulties with the Samsung Galaxy Fold, prior to its release.
That led to the addition of a bezel to the edge of the device and a cap on top of the troublesome hinge.
“I think we have learned a lot from that,” he said.
The new folding Flip device is good for 250,000 opens and closes without damage to the screen, which should mean it will last 4-5 years.