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Samsung Plans Aggressive Puerto Rico Market Penetration


March 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

PANAMA CITY, Panama–Germán Méndez, senior manager, product sales and marketing department for Samsung Electronics, plans to capture 30% of Puerto Rico’s market share in consumer electronics products. "Puerto Rico is an extremely important market for us," he said. "It’s a door where we can sell our high-end products because its gross domestic product is very high."

In terms of technology, Puerto Rico is a different market from the rest of Latin America. Méndez stated that, even though companies are looking toward the region, Samsung couldn’t emphasize sophisticated products. "Samsung’s part is to educate the consumer and bring them to using these products," he said.

However, Méndez believes local acquisition of products such as plasma TVs and liquid crystal displays is high. Therefore, Samsung’s [overall] strategy will be to aggressively try to recapture some of the digital media and appliance market share. "Puerto Rico is a high-end products market and Samsung’s [overall] strategy is focusing on products with added value," explained Méndez.

In Puerto Rico, Samsung boasts six to seven distributors but no local representation. However, that is about to change. Samsung Latin America is already working on establishing a local office within two to three months such as the ones established in other Latin American countries like Guatemala, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Panama. "We are focusing more internally to develop the market," said Méndez.

Furthermore, Méndez stated plans to establish a call center in Panama that will serve the region are already under way. "Our job isn’t just selling the product, it’s guaranteeing that after the sale the client will feel protected with our product," he said, adding that Samsung’s present focus on high technology demands that the company provide customers with more assessment.

Currently, Samsung brand products boast approximately 10% to 15% of market share in the white and brown appliance categories. Méndez stated the company’s cellphones and information technology products are doing spectacularly well in Puerto Rico. However, he didn’t specify what Samsung’s local market share is for these products.

Jong Won Park, president of Samsung Electronics for Latin America, believes the company has more space to grow in the Latin American market. Just 5% of Samsung’s total income corresponds to Latin America. Overall market share in Latin America includes 35% for hard drives, 30% for computer monitors, and 20% for televisions. He believes Samsung can become the No. 1 brand in the region by increasing business.

Park indicated Latin America is more conservative than more established markets. On average, new products take from two to 16 months to arrive in Latin America. However, Park emphasized that Samsung makes no distinction between consumers by region, other than stating some regions are more conservative than others in accepting new technology.

Samsung Electronics boasts more than 2,000 employees in the Latin American region, mostly based in Brazil, where the main office and research and development facilities are located. Total sales in 2004 for Latin America were $1.4 billion and the company expects a $6 billion increase in 2005. "There has been an accelerated growth and there is more need for human resources," said Park. "It all depends on the needs [of the region]."

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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