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Sony easing off US smartphone sales to improve Japan, European markets

updated 06:31 am EDT, Fri October 11, 2013

Marketing efforts also a factor in Sony's change of priorities

Sony could be relaxing its push to release smartphones in the United States, in order to protect its sales in Japan and Europe. CEO Kaz Hirai advised that, in terms of smartphone sales, Sony's "biggest priority is maintaining our share in Japan or increasing it," as it attempts to fight off the rising popularity of the iPhone in its home country.

Sales of the iPhone have increased in the country, with the late addition of NTT DoCoMo to the roster of carriers hosting the device, along with the recent iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c launches, adding to its install base. This does not entirely phase Hirai, claiming "We have strong brand recognition here for Xperia's hardware and services," according to Reuters.

"Next, we want to actively fight to increase our share in Europe, where we have a fairly high share. These are our two top issues, we are pouring a lot of management resources into them," said Hirai. Smartphone sales in Japan and Europe combined currently makes up 60 percent of the global total, making the two regions very important to the company.

In the meantime, it will not heavily market its smartphones in the US, instead opting for a more cautious approach. "Getting into the US market requires a lot of resources and marketing, so we have to go one step at a time," said Hirai. Of the main four carriers in the US, only T-Mobile appears to be the only one prepared to take on Sony's devices, though even if it was able to offer its smartphones on all four carriers, it is not a guarantee for sales. In China, it has contracts with the three main carriers, yet is apparently not able to generate sufficient sales to be worthwhile.

Sony's most recent quarterly results saw the company make a modest profit of $35 million, turning around a year-on-year loss of $312 million. The change has been credited to its Xperia smartphone line, which shipped 9.6 million units in the quarter.

by MacNN Staff



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