Sony cuts sales target of smartphone, tablet, camera by 13-17%

Telecom Lead Asia: Sony cut its sales targets for smartphones, tablets and digital cameras by 13-17 percent for the year to end-March 2015.

Sony’s cut in sales target is happening at a time when its rival Samsung surpassing 10 million units mark with Galaxy S4 smartphone. Launched globally on April 27, the phone is estimated to be selling at a rate of four units per second.

The Galaxy S4 sets a new record for Samsung, generating sales quicker than its predecessors. Sales of the Galaxy S III reached the 10-million mark 50 days after its launch in 2012, while the Galaxy S II took five months and the Galaxy S seven months to reach the same milestone.

Sony is the fourth largest smartphone maker in the world based on unit shipments in the first quarter of 2013. Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony and BlackBerry are the top smartphone makers based on market share in Q1 2013, according to Strategy Analytics.


Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai says Sony trimmed its 2014-15 camera sales target to 1.3 trillion yen ($12.7 billion) and now expects smartphone and tablet sales of 1.5 trillion yen.

“While there are encouraging signs of change, the revival of our electronics business remains our task,” Hirai said, pointing to strong demand for Sony’s new Xperia smartphone and mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.

Sony is keeping to its strategy to revive the struggling business around cameras and mobile and PlayStation gaming devices.

Worldwide devices (the combined shipments of PCs, tablets and mobile phones) are on pace to total 2.4 billion units in 2013, a 9 percent increase from 2012, according to Gartner. Device shipments are forecast to continue to grow, reaching more than 2.9 billion units in 2017, but the mix of these devices will significantly change over the forecast period.

Sony, which expects smartphone sales to rise by more than a quarter to 42 million in the current year to end-March, is battling with China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE and South Korea’s LG Electronics for third place in the $225 billion global market behind Samsung Electronics and Apple.

For the current business year, Sony predicts its operating profit will be around 230 billion yen ($2.24 billion), little changed from last year when it booked one-off gains from selling assets including its U.S. headquarters in New York.

Sony’s overall target for 2014-15 sales of 8.5 trillion yen and an operating margin of more than 5 percent is unchanged, with Hirai predicting the electronics business would account for 6 trillion yen of revenue.

By the end of the revival plan, the three core businesses – cameras, mobiles and gaming – will account for 65 percent of the electronics division’s sales and 80 percent of operating profit.

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