It appears that there's growing internal discontent about the direction that Samsung is taking. Prior to its first Unpacked event in South Korea, the company opened up its flagship Samsung Gangnam store. This was in response to Apple opening its first retail store in the same swanky Gangnam district.
A new report out of South Korea reveals that the public reception of this new retail space has been muted. This has worried employees who feel that Samsung's efforts will be unable to outpace Apple in their home country.
Employees reportedly dissatisfied with executives' complacency
Spanning 2,000 sq. mtrs, the Samsung Gangnam flagship retail store has multiple spaces that are designed with Gen Z and Millenial demographics in mind. Several visitors quoted in the report feel that the targeting seems ambiguous and doesn't relate to those demographics.
This store was envisaged as an experiental space that goes beyond being simply a sales point for the company's products. It was meant to be a “playground for the 2030s,” but the result has so far been unconvincing. There's a perception both internally at the company and externally that this project has been a failure.
A unnamed Samsung official quote in the report said that unlike previous experiences such as the Samsung Innovation Museum and the Delight Shop, it seems that this store was opened in a hurry just so its launch could coincide with the first Samsung Unpacked event in South Korea. At a recent town hall meeting of the mobile division, it was reportedly debated as to why the Samsung Gangnam project ended up being a failure.
Employees have reportedly been dissatisfied by what they consider to be the complacent attitudes of executives, one felt that “iPhone is something that children envy and it is an irrational preference,” possibly brushing aside the uncomfortable truth that Apple has been catch up to Samsung's lead in the global smartphone market.
As Samsung stares at the possibility of losing its top spot as the world's largest smartphone vendor to Apple, the mobile division's head TM Roh has personally issued a directive to increase the company's shipments to 220 million units this year. The sales department and field formations are aggressively pushing out product to meet hte target.
Roh has also given an aggressive goal to increase sales of foldable phones by 50% compared to last year.However, it seems that sustained demand for the new foldables is diminishing after strong early pre-orders and initial sales. Analysts also feel that it has become common for Samsung to see strong initial sales of its flagships before they decline quickly.