Sony ships below-forecast 8.1m Xperia’s in Q1 2013; blames success of Xperia Z for shortfall

by XB on 12th May 2013

in News

Sony logoSony released its year-end results a few days back and you probably would have seen the coverage talking about Sony’s first profit in five years. Whilst positive news, the result was boosted by asset sales and favourable exchange rates. Sony delivered revenue of $72.3 billion, operating income of $2.4 billion and net income of $458 million. On the mobile side, Sony delivered revenues of $7.8 billion, around 11% of total group sales.

Sony Mobile managed to ship 33 million Xperia smartphones during the year, however this fell slightly short of the 34 million expected. This was down to shipping 8.1 million units in the last quarter versus a forecast of 9.1 million units. Sony expects smartphone shipments to grow by 27% during this current fiscal year to 42 million units.

Interestingly, Sony blamed the unit shortfall in the last quarter to the success of the Xperia Z. On the results call Chief Financial Officer, Masaru Kato, said that the “Xperia Z was doing so well, so other models which we were expecting a lot of in sales did not actually make it.”

Kato seems to be getting at the fact that there was so much hype around the Xperia Z that it impacted sales of other Xperia handsets. We can imagine this to be the case for the Xperia T and Xperia V. Especially when you consider that images of the Xperia Z appeared in early December 2012. There’s no denying that the buzz around the Xperia Z probably meant many waited for the new flagship rather than go for the ‘Bond phone’.

Remember there was a huge marketing campaign last autumn/winter for the Xperia T, tying in with Skyfall, the latest James Bond film. We expect Sony was forecasting higher shipment numbers to bridge the gap to February/March 2013, when the Xperia Z was to launch. More than anything, it shows that the consumer is savvy and will often make considered purchases. Let’s hope Sony Mobile learns some lessons here.

Sony Xperia shipments

Via Sony.

  • Abhimanyu

    Since there’s so much hype around Xperia Hanomi or whatever it is, it’s more likely that Xperia Z sales might have been impacted by that too. :P

  • try to support phones with faster updates and better hardware and you will see the sales rise

  • Feanor

    Exactly. It’s time for them to improve their implemented technology and start releasing one correct flagship per year.

  • TechGuyChris

    whats impacted me from buying Xperia Z is that I want to see how Sony will treat this flagship vs how they treated the Xperia S. So thats one sale out.

  • Punkid

    im a huge sony fanboy, but serves them right for the poor poor support for the Xperia S , and the disappointing display on the Z…. The Z was THE phone for me, without a doubt, if it had a good display…but its so poor that ive had to consider the Galaxy S4, and i really really hate Samsung and their ugly soap shaped phones. And im so torn between the HTC One, Galaxy S4…and since the Nexus 4 is so cheap, thats also a contender for my next phone :P

  • dreamycreamy

    No one else to blame but yourself Sony, shouldn’t keep churning phones out like that.

  • Jerry Berglund

    Well, I hope they learn their lesson too. Because its correct. Before Xperia Z there were commersial from SOny about both Xperia S, Acro S, and in the end of 2012 lots of commercial of Xperia V. When Xperia Z came, all other phones gotten hidden kinda hidden. But in a way something good happend here. They sold quite many phones of the same model. Xperia Z. Maybe that what Sony needs to know. It do look like Sony actually can do 1, 2 or 3 phones, and sell lots of them. They sold more of a the moste expensive phone they have and still sold around 8 million phones, and less of the cheaper once. I really wondering how many Xperia Z they actually did sell Q1? In someway this aint that bad maybe. They just forgot to mention the cheapest phones, and how good S, V and t really are.

  • jmcomms

    Maybe this will make Sony realise that it should be trying to cut down on the number of handsets released in any given year, so it can see one or two key handsets on sale for the whole 12 months – like the Galaxy S3, followed by the S4 etc (even sold side by side for some time).

    Sure, we all know something new is around the corner. Wait and you’ll never buy anything, but always having something leaked and known about in advance WILL have people waiting.

    Even Samsung might be about to make the same mistake this year with the S4 Mini, Active, Zoom and goodness knows how many variants. I actually think that Apple still has the right idea and Sony could be making more profit as the costs will fall rapidly if they can have a smaller product line.

    That said, the idea of having the Z and ZL was quite good – giving people a choice of design but without having to compromise on anything (camera button excepted). No harm in copying that idea in the future – and having both on sale around the same time so people can feel empowered to make their own choice, rather than feel their new phone has already been superceded.

  • sfordesign

    and they didn’t blame their shit supports for 2012 devices. until sony realize it, i wish sony mobile keep falling

  • Babylonbwoy

    If they were a little smarter they wouldn’t f**k up Xperia V career like they did, in france at least…

  • Arokhantos

    To much lies and delays, such shame as they make good hardware but their software is awfull and broken.

  • so how many Xperia Z were sold ? 8m or 5m ? :/

  • azzido

    I always said that they have to focus on high end flagship devices instead of low end to make profit… They should make only 3 phones per year, one high end, mid and low, and then support it.

  • it’s good the meter is good to sony and i think if they continue with q2 and q3 2013 it will be higher alot bought Xperia Z

  • Michael Hofmann

    Sony should release their products to the market sooner after launch, if the Xperia Z had been released in late January rather than late February/Early March they would’ve had stronger Q1 sales.
    Perhaps next year Sony will launch their flagship just before MWC rather than at CES.

  • JM Penas

    I hope you learned your lesson Sony :)

  • John-Mark Christmas

    Soap shaped phone..hahahaha lmao. Good one!!!

  • afzal

    Not a big issue for me. Regarding the software update maybe it will be fast if sony not include new layout, extra fetures , and maybe just change the os numbers. If that what user wants i dont think sony is the rights devices for you guys. Take a look at xperia j come with new update with non and huge changes.

    EVerytime sony release a new os version update there will always be new user xperiance. Just look at the galaxy line up for example beforwe this all update just bring a same and boring fetures but now there ofering extra miles update providing s4 fetures inside s3. From where they got all the idea ” new os comes with a new user xperiance” ?

  • tonkotsu

    the xperia z and zl both are mediocre in every way

    it’s no wonder sony is behind

  • Lunkz

    3 Phones are to low, 2 High-End, 2 Mid, 1 Low. The Hardware is the main point, why the most Users buy’s a new phone.

  • Lunkz

    I like my Z.

    It has great materials, nothing wobbles or squeaks.
    that was my main reason to buy a new Phone, my old Arc squeaks sometimes where the batteries is, and has a crack on the light sensor for the second time, after I send it to the w-support.

    I’m happy with the display (Sharp), some users on the internet not. But it didnt change my choice. The HTC is ugly, the Samsung a plastic bomber. So everyone has it, so my Z is unique.

    I wouldn’t give my Z for anything, excepting a new Z with Camera Button and a better Audio output, and bigger camera sensor and not mooooaaar pixels.

  • scw

    It really show that Sony should slow down in lunching new models. Large number of models do not automatically means more sales.

  • Jerry Berglund

    Hmm… Actually its not quite correct. ITs kinda strange that so many people seems to think that Samsung makes less modells than Sony? Samsung do also concentrate their ads towards thert flagships and smartphones, just like Sony. Samsung do actually produce more modells than Sony ever done. Samsung is selling 64 different modells. HOw many do Sony sell right now 14 phones. So samsung do also do the same misstake so to speak, but its still do work for them. I do still believe they have to do more phones that 2 similar phones. They have to have a big screen, a middle screen modell and a small screen modell but with good specs. I still think 3 phones 5 inch, 4.3 inch and 3.5-4 inches. And not more than 6 phones. They remember they still selling phones from other years. The oldest Sony still is selling is Sony Ericsson X8 from 2010.

  • Jerry Berglund

    Actually it usually does means larger sells. But they have to tell people that the other modeels do exist, People wont buy those phones, if the dont know they do exist. And thats the reason that happend to Xperia S, Xperia acro S, Xperia T, Xperia V, and of course all the other phones that dont end with a Z. :-) Because if I didnt know better, I would thinkg that Sony only sells Xperia Z. Like three in Sweden who only Sells 3 Sony-phones at the moment. Xperia Z, XPeria J and Xperia Miro. One really good phone, and 3 bad and cheap once.

  • Jerry Berglund

    Not even Apple sells there new iPhone that close to the release. They do wait a month or two as well. Sony is much faster. They release the phone in mid Januari, and it got out to the market in february. What more can you ask of them. They have to get enough units to sell. Thats why its like this. They did just right. They came before both Samsung and HTC, and they will win. But yes you are right. The didnt get Januari, but in januari they had Xperia V.. Xperia Z vill show in q2 as well.

  • see sony, only need 1 flagship and you are good.

  • APai

    botched marketing/ release cycles. this proves conclusively that you cannot have haphazard release cycles and multiple flagship devices.

  • turner

    reasons for the low sales:

    inferior products (inferior display and camera, not the latest OS version)
    late product release
    high prices
    virtually no presence in the US

  • twit

    not really. the honami rumor only came in the last part of the first quarter. i think it’s more on the samsung galaxy s4 and htc one’s impending release.

    only die hard fans decided to buy. i wanted to buy but i was convinced it’s just inferior in almost every aspect.

  • alvin
  • sacrow

    Xperia ZR ?= Xperia A
    Its color choice like the rumored Xperia A

  • alvin

    Yeah, I like mint one…

  • jmcomms

    Samsung does indeed make more phones (and tablets) overall, but most are for specific markets and there are many variations of any given phone.

    I was trying to concentrate on the Galaxy S line, but there are all the much cheaper phones – most of which won’t appear in the UK or much of Europe simply because our subsidy system makes them rather pointless for the majority of people that still sign a lengthy contract and get phones for almost nothing.

    Personally, I’d like to see more people buy SIM-free and get SIM-only contracts on shorter terms, thus making it easy to swap networks to get the best deals and avoid price rises etc, but that’s another argument.

    Totally agree that Sony does need to have products for clearly defined segments and not believe that everyone wants a large display. I also think Sony needs to make sure it can still offer a powerful device even to people who might want a smaller display, rather than thinking that something with a 3-4.5inch screen will want a slow processor, too little RAM or anything else that makes it seem more like an entry level device.

    Samsung do make those crappy entry level devices, but I think Sony needs to try and avoid going down the same route.

  • roeshak

    That’s totally expected, the Zs hovered up all potential customers. I can’t imagine that people are buying that many Ts or Vs.
    Why would they, let this be a lesson to Sony, stop flooding the market with phones. If they can’t get the best phone out in H1, then push the flagship launch to H2 like Apple.
    They need to get away from this two or three flagship phones per year crap. It doesn’t work well for them and it’s bad for the consumers.

  • boosook

    If this is his analysis, I’m worried. They won’t learn any lesson, because they don’t understand which are their problems. How’s it possible that they did not understand that:

    1) you must have only one flagship. It’s obvious that if you release the Xperia Z noone will buy the T anymore. Do as the others do: release one flagship per year, and release it with the best hardware on the market so you’re not forced to update it after six months. Htc and samsung managed to release their flagships with a snapdragon 600, so why didn’t sony? They’ll be forced to update the Z in autumn, and this means that current Z users will be upset and many potential Z buyers will not buy it and get samsung or htc or they will wait for sony to release something updated.

    2) in the entry level range, their offering is lame, with overpriced phones with terrible specs and uninspiring design (they are trying to copy Samsung without having their power), so it’s obvious that Miro, Tipo, E and J are not selling. They deliberately killed the only good phone they made last year, which is the U, that impressed for its design and specifications in that price range, by not updating it anymore (it is usable only with gingerbread, due to the terrible ICS update that they released), hoping that people would then buy the newer lower-specced phones where they probably have higher margins, but people are not stupid. So it does not surprise me that they are not doing well in the entry-level range.

    3) in the mid-range, they simply have nothing good to offer but the Xperia P, which has been updated to JB with considerable delay, so it’s obvious that people looking for a mid-ranger turned to other brands. The xperia L is nothing special and will be low-end in a couple of months. The SP is a good offering, but came after an year where the only mid-range was the P, still stuck to ICS.

    They should simply devise a consistent range of phones, from low-end to high-end, provide timely software updates and offer good value for money and good build quality even in the entry-level range. And do not make too many phones that you can’t adequately support and will be obsolete in a few months.

  • jmcomms

    Seems that the announcement of the ZR today has also got the ability to screw up sales of the SP now too.

    Of course the ZR might be a lot more expensive, but in places where people buy on contract it won’t be that much different.

    The SP has dual-core, 8MP camera and the nice transparent bar (a really nice feature) and a 4.6-inch display (720p).

    The ZR has water resistance, 13MP camera, quad-core processor and comes in different colours. It also has a 4.6-inch display (720p).

    These are quite similar and I’d say that the ZR is the one to go for, however nice that transparent antenna bar is!

    The SP has been delayed in the UK. The ZR is down as a Q2 release, so that means around 1 (or let’s say 2 if the ZR is also delayed) months between releases.

    Sony, and others, will likely argue that they’re aimed at different markets but I am not so sure and sales might just end up split between the two, rather than actually attracting more custom overall.

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  • roeshak

    You’re totally wide off the mark there. The Z has performed very very well and you’ll have to wait for q2 figures to see that.
    Most people who were potentially interested in either the T or the V would have held on for the Z. Hence the drop in sales in January and February. Since the Z went on sale in March, they’ve been selling them by the bucket loads. Remember, it was reported that they sold 4.6 million units in 40 days. I read the other day on the guardian website which referenced a site that collected data about what phones people where using and according to them, the Z was way out in front ahead of the lumia 920 and Z10. The htc one was in last place some way behind the Z10.
    It’s fairly certain that Sony will have excellent q2 figures.
    The big question is will rumours of honami do the same to the Z producing weaker q3 results?
    The problem here is philosophical and not down to specs. It’s a very small minority of consumers who focus on specs. The HTC one’s malaise is evidence of that.
    Sony just need to stop diluting the Xperia brand with so many devices. That you see will always remain the root cause of their problems.
    Whether it be these sorts of fluctuations in market performance or customer frustrations over inadequate support.
    They simply need to stop making so many different devices. That’s all.

  • shut the fck up Sony, stop cribiing like mothercking Indians.

  • Raphael

    Xperia Z has a great display with realistic colors. Sadly customers just expect eye blinking contrast and colors to turn their normal life into story of glam and glitz.

  • sony NO

    sony didnt update my Arc S to newest software 4.1. that is the only reason that Xperia Z is not my choice for a new phone. Tommorow I will buy HTC ONE!

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  • cjewelz

    Sony use the same display as their Bravia TVs. Their display is better than all the other phones that have any realistic chance of competing against it. The soap phone is made by a budget brand so I would never consider it. If you go for an alternative go for HTC. Japanese and German products are best, but if you’re on a budget then Taiwanese products are excellent but cheaper.

  • niged

    So says the arrogant game station nerd…

  • cjewelz

    Did you forget that I’m the cigar-donor-to-your-mother?

  • niged

    No-one could forget what an “Arse’nal” quoting, thumb-twiddling, dyslexic, “I’m everyone’s dad”, Mohrinho-obsessed, sad little loser you have always been. It’s hilarious the way you reveal your total ineptitude and retardedness with your pathetic little comments. Do you stack shelves for a living? You’re such a nobody with such a laughably pathetic little life…

  • cjewelz

    Your mother is No.1, son.

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