Sony India to focus on premium offerings

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on January 09, 2018

Brand Sony will focus on premium offerings in India, be it television sets, smartphones or cameras.

According to Kenichiro Hibi, Managing Director, Sony India will look at the value segment and leverage their technical superiority rather than merely focussing on the volume or mass market.

“For all our products, we would look at premiumisation,” he told BusinessLine.

In fact, the company – in line with its global policy – had exited the mass market or entry level smartphone market and laptop segments.

While there is no immediate plan to re-enter the mass-market smartphone space, the focus of the Japanese major has shifted to the mid-to-premium segment where offerings are generally priced upwards of ₹15,000.

“The market has diversified. We looked at our key strengths and that was technology. We cannot be in the entry segment which is price dominated. Hence, we changed our strategy and looked at the premium segment,” he said.

“Rather than a ₹5,000-phone, we would give our customers superior technology,” Hibi added.

Interestingly, the fast-growing and highly competitive ₹10,000-20,000 price bracketed mobile phone category is dominated by Chinese players like Vivo, Oppo, Xiaomi and Lenovo (including Motorola).

“There are strong players but majority is in the ₹15,000-₹20,000 segment. In the ₹20,000 and above segment, the situation is different,” he said.

Hibi, however, maintains that while Sony continues to play in the ₹15k-20k space, its real sweet spot is super-premium segment including handsets with high specs (mobile phones priced upwards of ₹20,000).

In this premium and super-premium category where Apple and Samsung remain the dominant players, Sony – with its Xperia range of offerings – is hoping to make its mark.

According to him, Sony has seen good response in the ₹20,000 and above segment.

Marketing & growth

Its marketing strategy for smartphones too, will be different from the ad blitzkrieg that the Chinese phone-makers have adopted.

With premium being the focus, Sony will push sales through its 250-odd brand shops (standalone stores), organised trade (chain stores) and independent shops who sell “good number of premium” offerings. Online continues to be another lucrative channel.

In fact, the company has already launched five-six mobiles and more are in the pipeline.

For FY-18, the company is expecting a 20 per cent growth in its India revenues, across categories. Stabilisation of trade channels post GST roll out and good monsoons should buoy festival sales.

While June was a good month - with retailers and stockists announcing sales to offload pre-GST stock, July saw “better than expected” sales. Trade channels, Hibi said were improving.

“We should grow more than 20 per cent in FY-18,” Hibi said. Sony does not share India-specific revenues.

Published on August 18, 2017

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