Profitability: That’s the word on everyone’s lips at Sony Mobile, including in the Middle East and Africa, one of the few markets where the handset maker is bullish on sales.
The region has been increasing sales volumes in “double digits” for the past three years since the introduction of the flagship Xperia Z range, according to Spyros Gousetis, Sony Mobile’s director of marketing for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.
“It’s going to be a year we put the groundwork in for stable profitability,” Gousetis said.
About time, too. Sony has been in a period of flux for a least a year, cutting sales forecasts for its smartphones, losing cash and parting ways with the head of its mobile unit.
Sony’s mobile business has remained relatively strong in Europe, Southeast Asia and Japan, which account for 34%, 27% and 23% of its total smartphone sales, respectively. The Middle East and Africa region now makes up about 10% of global sales, up from a single-digit percentage two years ago, Gousetis said, without disclosing figures for volume of sales. But Sony’s presence in the key markets of China and the U.S. is still tiny.
The Japanese electronics giant has pushed out a new version of its Xperia Z range almost every six months since it canned a joint venture with Ericsson in 2011 and is expected to roll out the fifth generation this year.
Gousetis said the short lead time in introducing its flagship phones—other brands, such as Samsung 005930.SE +0.58% and Apple, usually push out new phones annually—has helped build market share in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey as many countries in the region are driven by retail sales, rather than fixed-term contracts with telecom operators. That means customers can upgrade faster.
As Sony Mobile aims to move to profitability, this short lead time might be increased, Gousetis said. Sony Mobile will also decrease the range of handsets it sells, from roughly 12, to focus on the top-end and midtier ranges and come up with more-targeted marketing campaigns in each region around the world. Last month in Dubai, Sony launched what it called the world’s first Aquatech Store, a small underwater shop that showcased the waterproof technology of the Xperia range.
“We are leveraging our premium line, streamlining our portfolio of handsets and looking at how we can better spend our marketing funds,” Gousetis said.
Source: Digits Tech News