In March Samsung showed up at the international exhibition: it showed the latest achievements of the company. On this occasion, we talked with Dmitry Kartashev — Vice President of the consumer electronics Department. He said, why do you need 8K in 2019, why is the fridge can cost a fortune, and even when the last kettle you will learn to access the Internet.
Trends and figures
What is the current trend in the consumer electronics market (TV, computers, refrigerators, washing machines, etc.)? That is on the decline? What future?
If we talk about the TV market (and I would like to start with it), we see several major trends, and many of them have already been confirmed by the example of Europe and America. First of all, it is increasing the penetration of TVs with 4K or UHD resolution. In Russia, the share of such TV by the end of last year reached almost 50% in monetary terms. This year, we expect UHD TVs to make up more than half of the market in monetary terms.
4K is becoming a mainstream television industry.
The second trend that we see is the growth of sales of large-screen TVs: 65+ inches, 75+ inches. In fact, the market doubles every year. If you look at the reasons that stimulate our customers to decide on the purchase of a new TV, it is, first, the quality of the picture, and secondly, the size of the screen. More and more people prefer TV with a large display, which gives us reason to expect growth in this category in the future. We see this scenario in other markets.
The third area — a TV with a resolution of 8K. Here we are the pioneers of the market: launched the first commercial QLED TV with a resolution of 8K in November last year. These were models with a diagonal of 75 and 85 inches. This year we plan to expand the line, add models with a diagonal of 65, 82 and 98 inches. We expect that this trend will also gain momentum in the future. The penetration of TV with large screen diagonals and 8K resolution will grow. The next trend is the demand for smart devices based on artificial intelligence and IoT. Plus, devices related to lifestyle solutions: people are paying more attention to the interior, and it is important for them how a large display will fit into it. Whether it is a large black rectangle, which spoils the idea of a designer or is a natural way to Supplement the concept of repair? Our solution with interior mode Ambient just opens up the possibility to build a large TV in the environment so that it looked in it harmoniously and did not look like a foreign element.
In matters of home appliances, it makes sense to talk about the General trend that unites all products — the so-called connected-devices or smart-products. That is home solutions with smart features, with the ability to connect to the Internet, with built-in Wi-Fi, able to integrate into the ecosystem. This refrigerator - we just presented at a recent exhibition a new model of Family Hub with such options. Or, for example, smart robot vacuum cleaners, which can be in your absence to clean the house, and then send a message to your smartphone: "Master, the work is finished, I go to the base to charge." In this row and washing machines that inform you about the washing cycle or allow you to start washing remotely, and many other devices.
I understand that generally there is a tendency to replace conventional technology at connected? And the demand remains the same?
Demand, in General, is growing. We expect the growth of the TV market this year about 5% compared to last year — from 5% to 10%. The trends I have mentioned will stimulate this growth. The home appliance market is also growing. People are paying more and more attention to models with advanced functionality, including smart devices.
At last year's Samsung forum in Rome, the company said it expects TV sales to grow by 8% thanks to the World Cup. Did the predictions come true?
The past year has exceeded our expectations, and the market has grown-up to approximately 15% in terms of unit shipments. I think that among the factors that influenced the growth is certainly the World Cup, and we saw sales growth in the second quarter of last year in its run-up. Including the growth of sales of TVs with large diagonals, which are especially in demand among fans of sports events.
Tell us what TV sets are most in demand — on the diagonal, the type of screens used technologies, etc.?
We see, as I said, the growth in sales of TVs with 4K technology or UHD resolution. It reached almost 50% in monetary terms by the end of last year. We also see the growth of TV with a large screen, although still, the main mass segment in our market is the segment of 40-43 inches in terms of unit shipments. But the trends in other markets it is noticeable that the demand will shift in the direction of TVs with large diagonals.
If we take the premium segment, our QLED TVs show steady growth, we are growing twice in sales every year. This happened in 2018, and this year we expect a similar scenario. QLED TVs are becoming a standard in the premium segment.
Don't you think the resolution of 7680x4320 is excessive and unnecessary? We barely enter the era of 4K, not all content is native, and you have already shown 8K. Not too early?
Good question. In my long history of working in the industry, I have seen several shifts of TV generations. When the first full HD TVs appeared, there were the same reviews: "What, in fact, to look at them, why do they need? It's all just the ideas of manufacturers. In fact, there is no signal, you can do HD-TVs". The same thing happened when 4K came out, the same reviews: "Why do we need it? We do not have this signal, there is nothing to see." But we see that gradually Full HD has become the industry standard for a period, as 4K is now becoming mainstream, and we believe that the same thing will happen with 8K in the future. Content is really not enough yet, which is why we have implemented in their TV scaling function based on artificial intelligence. The TV can scale the signal of almost any quality to 8K. This allows us to solve the problem of content available today. But as soon as the Park of such devices will expand, naturally content producers will also connect and realize the hidden demand.
TV signals can be scaled to virtually any quality level 8K.
How do you think, what needs more 8K (Absalom or native) for movies or games?
I think that the request for a high-quality picture is both from fans of games, and from fans of cinema, and 8K-TV can be useful in both cases. For gamers, we have hardware solutions that allow fast enough response to respond to the signal supplied either from the console or from the computer, which is a valuable factor for gamers. And, in fact, you have seen solutions that allow you to consider the game scene in more detail, to find those elements that are hidden on the usual screen. In addition, 8K, like all Samsung QLED TVs, are not subject to screen burnout, unlike displays created using other technologies. This is especially important for gamers because video games have a lot of static content, such as interface elements.
Large TVs are, of course, good, but most of the time the family spends in the kitchen, and there usually hang a small TV. Will there be small devices with technologies like QLED and 8K?
We understand that there is a certain demand for TV sets "for kitchen". Of course, it is difficult to implement technologies such as 8K or even 4K — the number of pixels will be excessive when the screen size, say, 32 inches, and even lead to an unconditional rise in the cost of the product. Therefore, it is more likely that the same technologies used in previous models will remain.
This year we will offer the market a premium model with a diagonal of 43 inches in the line of our interior TVs The Frame. Its distinctive feature in 2019 will also be the availability of QLED technology.
Internet in every subject
Over the past year, sales of Internet-connected equipment have increased. What do you think is the reason? What is useful and necessary for the consumer Internet in such household appliances as, for example, washing machine and dishwasher?
Our life is accelerating, there are more and more daily tasks, we see the request from the consumer and support it with our products. People are trying to free up time and shift part of the routine duties on the technique, not to deal with them on their own. So, the robot vacuum cleaner is able to clean in your absence, at a time when you are doing something more interesting. The washing machine can also be run remotely, and the audience that buys Samsung equipment is really ready to implement such solutions.
Appliances each year do not change: usually, a new fridge to buy, when broken down old, because of the difference between them no. At the same time, companies want people to buy equipment more often than once a decade. Any innovations with the Internet in the microwave and need to further spur a person to buy?
We introduce innovations to make the life of our consumers easier, easier, more saturated. And if you look, for example, at the history of the development of television technology over the past 13 years, during which Samsung remains the undisputed leader in the market, during this time many generations have changed, many technologies and innovations have appeared.
But people who may not be following this market so closely do not always learn about innovations in our products and in the industry as a whole. After all, if a person is satisfied with his refrigerator or TV — there are no problems with them, they work, then he does not think that it is time to change them. He doesn't see many new models. But if we, for example, see new cars on the street or new gadgets from our colleagues or friends, we pay attention to them. But to see a new refrigerator or TV at someone's home is not always possible.
If you put next to the TV, released seven or eight years ago, and modern TV, then, probably, its owner would have experienced shock. And externally, and the quality of the picture changes are revolutionary.
TVs "old" — with large frames around the screen, bulky, thick, with a medium quality picture, now much inferior to modern models. Our task is to show this difference, to explain to customers that over the past few years there have been radical changes in technology, that they really make life easier, more convenient and better. The same goes for refrigerators, microwaves, and washing machines.
Sometimes we detect a hidden request by conducting market research. I would like to give an example of our washing machine AddWash with an additional door. It turned out that people are often dissatisfied with the fact that it is impossible to put forgotten things in the drum if the washing has already begun — you have to start the cycle again.
On this basis, we proposed AddWash decision. Indeed, many began to speak: "How we used to not think about this? As it became convenient. " And now, more than 90% of people use the washing machine AddWash, regularly throw to something after run. And about 90% would recommend the machine to your friends and acquaintances.
Smart refrigerator Family Hub can remind about the shelf life of products, make a menu, allows you to remotely look inside from your smartphone and much more. Do you have data on which of these many features are most in demand? What do you use more often?
We already have experience in selling similar products in other markets — in Europe, in the United States — and we see that often the Family Hub is used as a kind of smart home center: in order to be able to see the status of other equipment, to control the washing machine, vacuum cleaner, oven and even air conditioning. The refrigerator is equipped with a convenient large screen on which you can give tasks to other objects of the ecosystem. In addition, there you can just leave notes to family members, some reminders. And another popular function is to watch the contents of the refrigerator from your smartphone, as well as make a shopping list.
Internet connection is not only a blessing but also a threat. In the network, all sorts of stories as to smart kettle joined the hackers and messed up. How does Samsung deal with this?
This is an important issue for us, because the protection of user data, the security of our devices is one of the main priorities of the company, and we are continuously improving the multi-stage system of user information protection. The company constantly monitors the risks involved and the only thing we ask our users to do is to update the software regularly when new versions are released.
An ordinary person believes that a smartphone is a high-tech thing. Household appliances do not have such a halo. How to explain to users why the washing machine can cost 50 thousand and what there can be "high technology"?
If we talk about what is actually implemented, we have a lot of products with innovative features. This washing machine with Quick Drive function, which allows you to reduce the washing time in half without compromising the efficiency and quality with sufficient care for things. This and our numerous TV: 8K - and 4K-TVs with technology QLED, TVs The Frame. These robot vacuum cleaners, and vertical vacuum cleaners with a record to date suction power.
We have a lot of innovations, and, of course, not only in phones, but also in other devices — in TV, and household appliances.
Our main task is to explain to consumers what value they acquire with Samsung appliances. It's not just household appliances, it's real helpers in everyday Affairs and what is not a pity to give money. This is what changes life, makes it easier and more comfortable.
Smart home technology has stepped far ahead, has become better and cheaper. Tell us what the ordinary person living in a block of flat, you need a smart home?
Again, the very concept of a smart home is aimed at making a person's life easier, more convenient, faster. In today's world, when there is not enough time for some important tasks for us, I would like to be able to delegate some of the household appliances. Therefore, I think that such devices are in demand by a wide range of customers, and our efforts to combine these devices into an ecosystem will also be appreciated by consumers.
Smart column for smart home
In the States, smart speakers are becoming an increasingly popular gadget, not among geeks, but Housewives. You also recently announced a Samsung Home smart speaker with built-in Bixby voice assistant. How will it work?
Such devices are of interest to consumers and are increasingly in demand in the market. This is another element of the smart home, with which you can control various equipment. We are watching the development of the market for such devices and it is likely that in the future we will be able to offer something similar to the users. But it is too early to talk about it.
Currently, Bixby is available in seven languages (Korean, English, Mandarin, Spanish, Italian, German) in more than 200 countries. We strive to increase the availability and functionality of the service for our users.
One last thing. At the exhibition, I was particularly impressed by the modular TV. It is hard to believe that it is intended for an apartment, and not for some cinema.
Apparently, you're talking about The Wall. So far it is more of a solution for corporate partners, for the B2B market. For the consumer market, we have a separate solution announced in Las Vegas earlier this year. It's called MicroLED. This is a modular TV based on inorganic LEDs that allow you to give both high resolution and high brightness without any negative effects associated with burnout.
We are now at the stage of a major change in our approach and rethinking of television technology because the modular solution allows you to create exactly the TV that you want for yourself. This may be the coming revolution in the industry.
You can make a TV of any size and with any aspect ratio — 16:9, 21:9, square, elongated, whatever.