Samsung’s CES press conference was pretty dull. We mostly saw TVs, an SSD hard drive and of course washing machines and other home appliances. But the most interesting part of the conference was the focus on design for boring items, such as the Chef collection for the kitchen, a new lineup of 360° speakers and a TV designed by Yves Behar. In other words, Samsung is trying to pull off a Bang & Olufsen.
Among other things, B&O designs very expensive TVs and home speakers for design-oriented people. The company doesn’t care about its price tags — there are plenty of people who can afford B&O TVs. Similarly, this high-end clientèle doesn’t care about specs. They want a good-looking TV to go with their Scandinavian furniture.
And it makes a lot of sense for Samsung to use the same strategy for some of its products. The company’s margins are shrinking when it comes to smartphones, and I’m sure that these TVs and speakers will be very expensive.
But don’t be fooled — the company’s strategy is not changing overnight. Samsung will keep producing smartphones, affordable TVs and washing machines. But just like car manufacturers have models that are 10 times more expensive than their base models, Samsung can get a bit of revenue from this new market segment.
Moreover, many people tend to choose an Android phone over an iPhone for price concerns. You can get a good Android phone for very little money now. Samsung can capture the mindshare of people who don’t look at the price tag when they buy a phone. When they buy a new phone, they might pick a Samsung phone over any other brand.