The world’s top-selling cellphone maker will open its first three U.S. stores, including one on Long Island, next week, on the same day it is expected to release a new smartphone in its flagship line.
The Samsung stores will open in the Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City and in Los Angeles and Houston on Wednesday, when Samsung is also expected to unveil the latest entry in its Galaxy smartphone line, which was introduced 10 years ago.
“Our new Samsung Experience Stores are spaces to experience and see Samsung technology brought to life, to empower people to do what they never thought was possible before,” YH Eom, president and chief executive of Samsung Electronics America, said in a statement.
Samsung’s 8,000-square-foot Roosevelt Field location and the two other stores will sell Galaxy phones, tablets and wearable technology; TVs; and smart home devices from SmartThings, a company Samsung bought in 2014. Customers will be able to try out new products and get walk-in repairs for their mobile devices. The focus of the stores will be on cellphones, the company said.
Analysts expect the Samsung stores, if more are added, will give the company’s phones more visibility, as opposed to driving any sales increases.
“I expect this has a lot to do with, No. 1, branding. And then, No. 2, exposure for all those kinds of halo products” — other product offerings from Samsung — said Tuong Nguyen, an analyst in personal technologies at Gartner Inc., a research firm in Stamford, Connecticut.
Samsung has a wide array of products, but Apple and its iPhones have had a lock on the U.S. market since 2011, said Anthony Scarsella, research manager for mobile phones at International Data Corp., a Massachusetts, market intelligence firm for the technology industry.
Last year in the United States Apple accounted for 44 percent of the smartphone market, followed by Samsung with 24 percent, and LG at 12 percent, he said.
Apple Inc.’s stores account for only 10 percent of the company’s volume. Samsung and Apple sell most of their phones in the United States through stores operated by carriers, such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T, Scarsella said.
Apple, which is based in California and also has a store in Roosevelt Field, uses its stores to create an entertainment experience, which can be tied to buzz surrounding new phone releases, to boost its brand, rather than drive volume, experts said.
South Korea-based Samsung is aiming to create an experience in its stores that encourages customers to linger in a “playground,” where they can experiment with 4-D virtual reality and play with friends in a 4K gaming lounge. Samsung has had pop-up stores across the nation and plans to open more this year, it said.
Asked whether additional permanent stores are planned in the United States, the company said it was focused on the three locations opening next week.
One analyst said the stores could be part of Samsung's plan to prepare for new product and technology introductions.
“In about a year I think you’ll see Samsung will have a 5G wireless phone ready before Apple,” said Jim Kelleher, director of research and senior analyst for technology at Argus Research Group in Manhattan.
Currently, the standard is 4G — the fourth generation of mobile data technology — for the speed at which smartphones download material, such as movies and games, and connect to apps.
Samsung, which has historically introduced new products in February, has tied the new store openings to its heavily promoted Galaxy Unpacked 2019 presentation, which will take place in San Francisco on Wednesday.
The company is not divulging details about what product will be released but said online it will “welcome a new member to the Galaxy family.” In addition to smartphones, Galaxy products include tablets and watches.
Analysts and tech enthusiasts expect Samsung to release a new foldable phone, rumored to be called the Galaxy X.
Samsung also has been dropping hints about its offerings in its promotions. A teaser video on the company’s YouTube channel flashes the phrase “The Future Unfolds” in Korean and English, and shows the text bending.