Sony 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.