Samsung Wants to Copy Apple's Upgrade Plan, But Can It Fix Lagging Sales?
The dust has barely settled on Apple 's big event this month, and already Samsung is looking to follow in Apple's footsteps when it comes the iPhone Upgrade Plan, according to Forbes.
Under Apple's new option, consumers can sign a two-year installment plan at $32 per month for their new iPhone, with the option of upgrading to a new phone every year. Essentially, Apple will end up leasing the devices to most people because they'll upgrade each year and sign a new agreement. Users can then have Apple set up which carrier they want their service through.
The new plan comes at a time where U.S. wireless carriers are moving away from subsidized phones and offering their own ways for users to finance or lease their devices.
And while Apple could certainly benefit by gaining even more control over its iPhone customers experience with the iPhone Upgrade Plan, Samsung may look to an upgrade plan for an entirely different reason.
Why Samsung needs this
Sales of Samsung devices are hurting, and the South Korean-based device maker is looking for new ways to turn things around. According to Gartner , Samsung's smartphone unit sales fell by 5.3% in Q2 2015; meanwhile, Apple's jumped by 36%. Samsung's revenue also fell by 8.4% year over year in Q2 -- the seventh consecutive quarterly drop.
Anshul Gupta, a research director at Garner, recently wrote, "Despite the launch of new S6 models, Samsung's premium phones continued to be challenged by Apple's large-screen iPhones."
To help woo iPhone users away from Apple, Samsung even started its own test-drive program that allows iPhone users to test out an S6 or S6 Edge for one month, for just $1. Samsung also dropped the price of both the S6 and S6 Edge last month in order to drum up more interest in the devices.
Despite those moves, there's little indication that Samsung has turned the tide for its devices this year. And the upgrade program could help lock in diehard Samsung customers by providing them an easy way to get the company's latest devices.
But if Samsung launches such a program, it's not a sure-fire fix.
Samsung has yet to release any details about a possible upgrade plan, but sources told Forbes it could launch some time over the next few months. At this point, it's pretty much a no brainer for Samsung. But the company, and its investors, can't expect it to be the device maker's saving grace, either.
Samsung needs to take a different page out of Apple's handbook and start making devices that users want to upgrade to each year. While Samsung's devices are comparable on specifications level with the iPhone, the plethora of Android devices has hurt Samsung's ability to set itself apart from the rest of the crowd.
But in the meantime, an upgrade plan might at least keep a few Samsung customers from leaving. And that could help Samsung buy some time until it can figure out how to revamp its high-end smartphone line-up in such a way that will allow it to better compete with Apple's iPhone demand.
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