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[Herald Interview] 'Premium laptops essential to complete Galaxy ecosystem'

Feb. 6, 2023 - 15:41 By Jie Ye-eun
Lee Min-cheol, corporate vice president of Samsung Electronics' mobile experience division (Samsung Electronics)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Samsung Electronics is hoping to expand its presence in the global laptop market where it remains a tiny player, as people are replacing their laptops more frequently after pandemic disruptions.

“The replacement cycle of laptops is getting shorter from the previous life span of five years on average since the electric devices are turning into true ‘personal computers’ during the pandemic years,” said Lee Min-cheol, corporate vice president of Samsung’s mobile experience division, during a press briefing held in San Francisco on Thursday.

“We expect the new consumer trend will lead to a steady rise in sales," Lee added.

Before COVID-19 struck, family members often shared a computer at home. With increased remote working during the pandemic, however, an increasing number of people around the world have chosen to own a laptop, according to the Samsung executive.

In line with the shift in trends for laptop users, Samsung believes it can expand its presence around the world with the latest flagship laptops, while the company’s share in the global laptop market is still statistically insignificant, unlike its dominant market position at home.

According to market researcher Strategy Analytics, Samsung held a market share of less than 1 percent in the global laptop market in 2021. China’s Lenovo retained the No. 1 position with 23.2 percent, followed by HP (23 percent), Dell (15.6 percent) and Apple (8.7 percent).

With the 2021 debut of the Galaxy Book premium laptop, Samsung is making a renewed push to elevate laptop sales, taking advantage of its connectivity with the top-selling Samsung smartphones, among others things.

“The Book is essential in completing the ecosystem of the Galaxy series,” Lee said on the sidelines of the unveiling event of the company’s flagship Galaxy S23 smartphones last week. “Adding to hardware features, we also focused on upgrading connectivity among the devices.”

Lee attributed the current slowing sales to multiple variables, including the price jump in raw materials and the increased volatility in the Korean won exchange rates. Targeting countries with a high demand for premium electronic devices, the tech giant aims to bolster global sales of its premium laptop lineup this year, he added.

“There will be a time lag before consumer sentiment improves. We expect a turnaround in the second half of this year,” he said.

Last week, Samsung unveiled its Book flagship laptop lineup, consisting of three models with price tags ranging from 1.88 million won ($1,500) to 3.47 million won. On Thursday, the first batch of 900 Book 3 Pro laptops sold out immediately at home.

The Book series makes up almost half the total premium laptop sales of Samsung. The company said it aims to elevate the portion to some 60 percent this year, without elaborating on specific sales figures.

By Jie Ye-eun

Korea Herald correspondent