Sony on Wednesday said it has exited the smartphone market in India as it looks to focus on its key markets — Japan, Europe, Hong Kong and Taiwan — to drive profitability.
Apart from India, Sony has pulled out of some other markets as well. “We have ceased sales in Central and South America, West Asia, South Asia, Oceania, etc, in FY18, but we will keep monitoring the market situations and business feasibility,” the company said.
In the US and China, Sony has withdrawn from the operator business but will continue selling in the open market. Earlier in March, the company had ceased its production in China.
However, Sony also said that it would continue customer support in India. “We ceased sales in India in FY18, but we are committed to continuing customer support operations including after-sales support and software updates for existing customers in India,” it said.
Sony Xperia phones did have a loyal fanbase in the country for a while, thanks to their camera features (on the top-end variants) and a smooth operating system along with good audio capabilities. But the onset of Chinese brands offering cheaper-budget and mid-range options with good quality specs saw its market share fall.
At the top-end of the smartphone market, competition from the likes of Apple and Samsung, along with the rise of OnePlus led to the Japanese company falling behind. Of late, even South Korean gadget-maker LG has not been able to keep pace with the currently popular brands in the Indian smartphone market. Some of Sony’s Xperia offerings are still available on e-commerce platforms, but according to industry analysts, their sales have been dwindling for some time.
Data from industry research firm Counterpoint show that Sony’s share in India’s smartphone market had fallen to very low figures. “Sony had less than 0.01 per cent of the total India smartphone market share in Q1 2019,” Shobhit Srivastava, Research Analyst, Counterpoint, told BusinessLine . “The pressure from Chinese brands and Samsung in the major price segments resulted in continuous decline of sales for Sony. With declining sales in India and other markets, Sony took the right decision to focus on the high ASP (average selling price) markets such as Japan.”
However, Sony seems to have left the door slightly open in India, as it said: “We will keep monitoring the market situation and business feasibility in India.”