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KOLKATA: The smartphone war between Samsung and Apple has reached the Indian shores. Just two days after ET reported iPhone's rapid gain in the last quarter, Samsung has launched a mega advertisement campaign and reintroduced EMI scheme for its high-end phones.

"We sense a strong interest amongst consumers for our high-end devices and based on our learnings from last year, we have re-introduced the EMI scheme for our bouquet of Galaxy devices," Asim Warsi, vice-president at Samsung Mobile, said.

Experts feel the move will take the fight back to Apple's iPhone, which has doubled its monthly sales after launching an EMI scheme in January backed by an aggressive advertising blitzkrieg.

"Even though the market potential is still small, it has become vital for Samsung to maintain its edge in the premium smartphone segment and fight aggressive competitors like Apple since these premium models sets the tone of the brand and has a rub-off effect on consumer sentiments," Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at research firm Gartner, said.

The EMI offer, first announced through a mega print campaign on Wednesday, covers popular models such as Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Grand, Galaxy SIII and Galaxy Camera. Some retailers said its wider network may help Samsung to widen its lead over Apple iPhone. "Unlike Apple, the Samsung EMI scheme will cover much wider sales network including the neighbourhood mobile phone retail stores, and hence the impact is surely going to be big," said Himanshu Chakrawarti, CEO at Essar Group's The Mobile Store, the country's largest cellphone retailer with 800 stores.

Samsung officials said the company will expand its new campaign, which will run for more than a month, to the digital media and inside retail stores. They, however, declined to comment on competition with Apple and the company's marketing spent on smartphones. They said the Korean brand enjoys more than 55% market share by value in the Rs 20,000 plus smartphone segment, led by the Galaxy Note II.

With the new campaign, Galaxy Note II has almost matched the EMI payment of iPhone 5. While the iPhone 5 is available at a down payment of Rs 16,990 and EMI of Rs 2,376 for 12 months, the Galaxy Note II is sold for 12 EMIs of Rs 2,999. Samsung first experimented with EMI schemes in last September when it launched a campaign for Galaxy S III, which helped the company to extend its lead in the Rs 20,000-plus phone segment.

As per latest figures from IDC's Asia-Pacific Mobile Phone Tracker for October-December 2012, Apple increased its value share in the smartphone market rapidly to 15.6% from 3.9% in the preceding quarter. The company's share in shipment too jumped to 4.7% from 1.3%, thanks to its decision to push sales in electronic stores through retail distributors Ingram Micro and Redington.

Samsung led the smartphone segment with 38.8% value share and 33.2% volume share in the fourth quarter, but it reported almost 12% fall in both from the previous quarter.

In the global market, meanwhile, the iPhone 5 overtook Galaxy S3 to become the world's best-selling smartphone model for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data from market research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics.

Approximately 27.4 million iPhone 5 were shipped worldwide in Q4, 2012, up from 6 million in the third quarter, accounting for 13% market share overall. In comparison, Galaxy S III shipment fell from 18 million units to 15.4 million in the same time frame, securing an estimated 7% market share.
source: timesofindia

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