The fact that Samsung is based in South Korea doesn’t mean that the company faces no problems in pushing its products to its fellow citizens. Quite the contrary, Samsung spends hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing in South Korea. According to the company’s regulatory filings in the country, its sales promotion costs exceeded its advertising expenditures. Promotional expenditures were up 38.7 percent in the first three quarters of 2013 as opposed to the same timeframe in 2012. This amounts to 934 billion won or US$888 million being spent on various promotions alone.
On the other hand, Samsung reduced its advertising expenditures in South Korea. In the first three quarters of 2012, Samsung spent around 1.71 trillion won or US$1.63 billion while this year it spent just 695 billion won which equals US$661 million. This is the first time that the company’s promotional expenditure has exceeded its advertising expenditures. Promotions included various marketing activities, rebates, discounts as well as other incentives to get more users to pick up its devices. Even outside South Korea, Samsung leads its rivals in ad spending. Last year, as per data compiled by Kantar Media, Samsung spent some $401 million on advertising alone in the U.S., trailed in second place by Apple with $333 million. Even if these behemoths significantly reduce their spending, their rivals still won’t be able to match them. In the same time period last year, HTC spent just $36 million on advertising in the U.S.