Angry! I don’t know if you heard it, but Samsung held its first Super Duper Neato special event of the year on Tuesday, and the company has some new phones for all of us to google.
The devices themselves appear to be good enough in their respective ways. I’ll quickly summarize them for you, because what I do Really Wanting to talk about it is something deeper. Here is the overview:
- The Galaxy S20 is Samsung’s new flagship for 2020. There are three models, all 5G in the US, and they’re as good as Samsung: large screens, small frames, and All The Specs ™ – lots of numbers that look impressive on paper (108 megapixels! 8K video! 120 Hz screens! 16 GB RAM!) Ultimately, they mean very little when it comes to the effects on the real world. They’re also expensive: $ 1,000 at the bottom and up to $ 1,600 for the maximum top model.
- The Galaxy Z Flip is a new, horizontally foldable, foldable phone – basically a better version of the recently released Motorola Razr, it looks like, and an interesting technological advance, but almost certainly something that no normal person actually did at the time should buy.
This is the ultra-abbreviated version anyway. The reality is that Samsung is committed to selling a shipload of its Galaxy S20 phones, as is generally the case with its primary new flagships – and This is the area I really wanted to explore.
First, a brief pinch of context: In addition to developing appealing devices, Samsung has worked hard over the years to strengthen the brand’s profile and loyalty. Originally, this was due to bold, memorable, and ubiquitous marketing – but then, at least in part, it became a self-expanding cycle. By that, I mean the longer someone stays with a particular Android phone style and the more they update from one generation of that phone to another, the more likely they will be able to do it equal Kind of upgrade the next time the need arises.
Think about it: how many people do you know who switch between different brands within Android? In my experience, most people outside of a small group of enthusiasts don’t even entertain the thought. They’ve had Galaxy phones in the past few cycles. So when the time comes for an upgrade, the only question you need to consider is which model and style of Galaxy phone you want to get. Just as the preference for smartphone platforms has been largely tribalized, the smartphone is brand The preference within Android seems to have turned into a mostly static quality.
And the effects of this go even deeper: if someone who Not However, do you have a strong brand preference within Android to make a purchase decision – an average phone buyer, whether for individual or company-wide purposes – what do you think about first? Mostly it is the brand you know and see everywhere, both in the hands of your colleagues or companions and in the most prominent positions on the store shelves. Once this cycle begins, it is difficult to disrupt.
Samsung knows this and showed us this week how carefully it is working to reinforce this cycle – in a way that is almost the opposite of what Google does with its pixel array of phones.
Think of these bigger insights from this week’s Samsung event and how they illustrate the sales approach for Samsung and Google smartphones:
1. Samsung announced that Galaxy S owners are waiting longer than ever to upgrade their devices.
The first is mostly for context only, but it’s important: the average upgrade cycle among Galaxy S owners rose from 22.6 months in 2016 to 26.6 months in 2019 – an increase of 18%. according to Samsung. This reflects the industry-wide pattern we’ve been hearing about for some time, but Samsung acknowledges the same trend that’s specific to Galaxy S owners – and sees that it’s flat-out adoption It is quite significant that these Galaxy S owners will upgrade to a new Galaxy S phone and not to another brand.
It also leads us directly to our next point:
2. For the first time, Samsung will continue to produce its previous generation phone – the Galaxy S10 – and sell all of these models for $ 150 below the original prices.
This is something Apple has been doing for a long time, but most Android device manufacturers (including Google) have yet to get one – and it makes so much sense that it almost hurts.
Yes, the prices of the Samsung Galaxy S20 may be a little outrageous, but if you don’t want to put a cool grand or more on a range of cutting-edge technologies that you probably don’t need, you can get the last year right now. pretty impressive Galaxy S10 phone for a much cheaper price of $ 750. Heck, you can go as low as $ 600 if you want to fall on the still perfectly beautiful S10e model.
Google did this very briefly with the Pixel 2 when the Pixel 3 came out what gave me hope that it would adopt a similarly clever strategy – one that it would in particular Incidentally, it makes sense for pixel phones that they are the only Android devices that get full performance three Years of guaranteed operating system updates – but it turned out that the company was only selling the remaining inventory, rather than continuing to produce the older model as a conscious, ongoing strategy. Oh.
And then there’s the biggest point of all:
3. Samsung is leaning back to encourage current Galaxy owners to upgrade.
Sure, the Galaxy S20 may cost a thousand dollars – but if you have a Galaxy S10, you can swap out your old phone and purchase the new one for just $ 400 (unlocked and without a contract). Do you have a note 10? Samsung will give you one $ 700 Trade in credit and sell the new model for $ 300.
Even older Galaxy models offer reasonable trade discounts. With the Galaxy S9 and Note 9, for example, you get a $ 300 discount on the price of a new phone. And if you come from a pixel, the Pixel 4 will give you $ 600 credit, which will lower the price of the S20 to $ 400. With the 2018 Pixel 3 you get a $ 300 discount on the starting price of the S20. And even the pixel in the middle 3a You’ll get a $ 200 discount off the price of a shiny new S20 phone.
Google also has its own trade-in program for pixel phone purchases, but it pales in comparison. The company offers maximum $ 265 Credit for a Galaxy S10 – less than half what Samsung offers for the same device. Even for its own previous generation Pixel 3, Google offers a maximum trade-in value of $ 165 towards a Pixel 4 compared to Samsung’s $ 300 credit for the same Google-made phone.
Samsung knows exactly how important it is to motivate customers to stay with the Galaxy brand
A common saying goes that winning a new customer costs five times more than retaining an existing customer. Samsung may not offer somewhere near Google’s support for post-sales software – and the hell it even quietly sells its users’ data! – But when it comes to thinking about buying a new phone, Samsung knows exactly how important it is to strengthen the relationship with existing customers and motivate them to stay with the Galaxy brand. Google, on the other hand, appears to be doing little more than a token effort.
(And by the way, that’s not just on the phone front: over there on the side of the intelligent speakers, where Amazon is Absolutely slaughter google Despite an objectively poorer product, Amazon Echo is wary of encouraging owners to trade their older devices to get a store credit plus Immediately 25% discount on all new Echo products. Google introduces many new smart speaker models, but does absolutely nothing to promote the same sense of brand loyalty and repeat purchases from owners of its aging products.)
When I think of all the things Samsung announced this week, the phones are certainly everything everyone hoped for – eye-catching, technologically impressive, and probably just the right amount of progress to Samsung’s dominance in mobile tech maintain. But the circumstances Surroundings These phones seem to me to be far more important, especially in the overall picture of what Samsung is doing to support its technology and strengthen the loyalty it has worked so hard for.
We can talk endlessly about how Google could position its pixel phones and market them to the masses, but even if it succeeds in attracting new users, it will need to develop a smarter strategy to keep its momentum going and spread its customer retention cycle . And as Samsung reminds us all week, it doesn’t take long to find an example of this exactly how to do that.