Samsung’s Conor Pierce claims it ‘can’t rely on a traditional model’ as sold-out demand for the Gear S2 smartwatch shows huge opportunity in the UK wearables market.
The VP for IT and mobile, UK & Ireland told Mobile that this year will see the manufacturer ship 1.9m wearable units, almost a million of which will be smartwatches, as the number of devices per consumer increases.
‘The number of devices per person is growing across the UK,’ said Pierce, ‘and I think we need to find a way to complement a flagship launch by enhancing the proposition and helping the consumer to understand that. There’s lots of opportunities to do things differently, we can’t rely on a traditional model as people look towards multiple devices.
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‘We’re very encouraged by the initial results, it [the Samsung Gear S2] sold out properly and obviously that’s a really encouraging sign for us, as we ready ourselves for the launch across the UK and Ireland. We expect strong uptake and we have a very strong competitive position to really ramp up the volumes for the quarter.
‘There is an opportunity for smartwatches across the UK as it’s a very sophisticated market. We estimate approximately 1.9m units of wearables; 1m fit bands and 900,000 smartwatches this year alone. We’re only scratching the surface. It’s going to be a massive, explosive growth – ultimately it will become a natural part of how we interact, not just with our smart device but with our connected life.’
The manufacturer has high hopes that its smartwatch will succeed in the UK market due to what it claims is a stronger apathy in the UK towards adopting new technology. Pierce explained that this has been boosted by widespread channel support for Samsung’s new wearable.
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‘We’re in a highly saturated market,’ he said. ‘Maybe if it wasn’t for the Galaxy S6 this year we’d see stronger apathy in adopting new technology – and the life cycle for smartphones in general is extending for a variety of reasons. The Galaxy S6 has bucked that trend and we’ve seen strong uptake in terms of acquisition and retention across the base.
‘We have strong support from our operator partners; it’s launched in EE and in O2, and we’ll also see the full range being launched in Dixons Carphone, Argos, Shop Direct and Vodafone Ireland. If you look at other flagship smartwatch launches there’s much broader coverage, which is very important.’