Sony Mobile has confirmed plans to drop the ‘Premium Standard’ segment from its future smartphone portfolio. Devices launched under this tier included the Xperia X and Xperia X Compact in 2016 – they were designed to offer a reasonable price point with an almost flagship specification.
When details of these phones were announced, many of you bemoaned the fact that these weren’t flagship devices, and it looks like this apathy translated into lacklustre sales. Whilst in Japan, these models hit 85% of its intended volume targets for the year, outside of Japan this number fell to a paltry 31%. It’s fair to say that volumes fell spectacularly short of targets – the lack of resonance outside Japan led to the company only hitting 43% of its targets in this segment globally.
Sony confirmed the news at its 2017 Investor Day, along with the fact that it will now only focus on flagship and mid-range models going forward. This includes models like the Xperia XZ Premium and XZs at the top end, and mid-rangers like the Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra.
Sony is seeking to try and recover market share in 2017 and hopes to differentiate its products “with technologies that only Sony can deliver”. It will also only focus on markets, where it can leverage its brand strength. This includes territories such as Japan, East Asia, APAC, Middle East and Europe.
Sony still wants to do well in North America, but recognises that huge investment is recognised (read: marketing) to make a difference. It plans to try and grow share through providing differentiated smartphones. Sony also mentioned India, which it eyes cautiously due to the predominance of lower-value smartphone products with razor-thin margins.