Samsung (005930) has seen tremendous success in recent history, and 2012 has been nothing short of stellar for the consumer electronics vendor so far. The company’s sales hit $42.2 billion in the second quarter this year, topping rival Apple (AAPL) by a healthy margin, and its profit of $4.6 billion was up nearly 50% year-over-year. So how does Samsung do it? While companies like Apple use a somewhat narrow focus to their advantage, Samsung takes a different approach: Sell everything.
Samsung has found a niche in attacking every niche it can, Fortune contributor Don Reisinger explains, while the company’s biggest rivals rose to the top much differently. Apple became one of the most successful companies in history by taking control of the end-to-end mobile device experience and building premium smartphones and tablets. Microsoft built platforms for businesses and Google focused on user data.
South Korea-based Samsung used a much different approach. The company’s aim is to attack every inch of consumers’ homes, launching waves of new phones, tablets, televisions, washing machines, cameras, driers, refrigerators, computers and more each year. And somehow, despite the lack of laser-like focus exhibited by the company’s chief rivals, Samsung does it all very well.
“By the end of 2011, Samsung was the world’s top TV maker, earning 22.5% market share,” Reisinger wrote. “In the display monitor market, it was first with 15.1% share. Samsung also owns some 13.5% of the worldwide refrigerator market. And in washing machines, its market share has grown from 7% in 2009 to 9.2% last year. Even in laptops, where giants like HP (HPQ) and Dell (DELL) dwarf it, Samsung has watched its market share nearly double to 6.3% in just a few years.”
What Reisinger doesn’t extend his piece to cover is the next stage of Samsung’s strategy, which is to interweave the experiences on all of its different devices and create a scenario that offers tremendous benefits to consumers who own Samsung devices across multiple categories. Tablets will talk to TVs, changing channels and streaming content. Refrigerators will talk to smartphones, alerting users when it’s time to buy milk. Camera will talk to Blu-ray players, allowing users to display a slide show to friends in an instant. And so on.
Samsung might not have started out with the intention of creating a ubiquitous connected experience, but that is certainly the direction the company is taking. In doing so, Samsung has the potential to lock users in and foster consumer loyalty that its rivals can only dream of for the time being.