Review Central speaks to Taro Kimura, the new Managing Director for Sony Middle East and Africa about his plans for the company in this region this year
What is Sony’s market share in the Middle East?
In camera segment, overall, our camera business grew by 44 percent in 2016. This is thanks to the award winning Alpha and RX series. In both mid and premium compact segment we experienced growth last year and the market share was 65 percent and 48 percent respectively.
In the Full Frame segment, we have received an overwhelming response to our Alpha series (A7R II and A7S II) and as a result our UAE market share in this segment has grown by 46% and hit 22% mark in 2016. In the MID segment, with the launch of two new models in 2016, the A6300 and A6500, we’ve successfully managed to increase our share to 17 percent in UAE.
In the TV segment, in the 55-inch TV category, we grew the business by 174 percent and hit 16 percent market share in FY16. We also experienced strong growth in the segment of 65-inch TV and grew by 112 percent and achieved 18 percent market share. As to the 75-inch TV, thanks to the hit model 75X85, we could grow by 252 percent and the market share is now at a 20 percent level.
In the audio segment, the wireless speakers category is booming among the youth. Our market share is still far from the level of our satisfaction, but the business has grown by 61 percent which Saudi Arabia and Qatar largely contributed to.
The headphone and earphone business has grown by 38 percent and we reinforce the assortment and product line up at not only mass segment but also the segment of sports and Bluetooth and noise cancelling models.
What marketing strategies will you adapt to increase brand awareness of the company?
We plan to grow volume of business by 20 percent in 2017. Sony MEA is looking to grow television sales by 26 percent, audio product sales by 11 percent and achieve a 52 percent sales growth in its interchangeable lens camera business in 2017.
How will you achieve this vision?
We will achieve this vision through new product launches and a refreshed business development strategy. We will be introducing a premium collection of products that are outstanding and packed with innovation, user experience and functionality.
In addition, our refreshed business development strategy will place the company and its business partners in a strong position to gain market share in the company’s focus categories. These include television, digital imaging, and audio products.
Any new products in the pipeline for the next six months?
Leading the change in the television category will be Sony’s first BRAVIA OLED TV A1 Series, scheduled to launch in the Middle East in July 2017. Previewed at the CES earlier this year and generating rave reviews, the BRAVIA OLED A1 series offers a totally new visual experience.
A combination of superior picture quality, achieved with the company’s proprietary 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme; revolutionary sound that emanates directly from the screen itself – a feat made possible by Sony’s newly developed Acoustic Surface™ technology and a streamlined, stylishly minimalistic “One Slate Design Concept” make it a technological marvel.
Television is our key driver for business growth and our product strategy of best picture quality, design and usability remains unchanged. The BRAVIA OLED A1 Series will be a new addition to an array of best in class televisions that will expand from 23 models in 2016 to 37 models in 2017, offering customers a wider choice.
How important is MEA for Sony’s overall business strategy?
The MEA region represents a very key growth market for Sony and we continue to take market leadership in several product segments such as cameras, TVs and audio. The year-on-year growth that we achieved over the years is a testament to the strength of Sony and the customer bases that continues to expand across different markets in the region.
Our 2017 budget is higher than 2016 by 20 percent. For FY 2017, we have budgeted approximately 3 percent of our overall sales revenues towards marketing our products in the Middle East and Africa region.