Opinion post by
C. Scott Brown
From time to time, I talk about smartphone stuff with my girlfriend. She listens to half most of the time because the subject interests her only marginally, but she straightened up the other day when I mentioned the launch of the Sony Xperia 1 II. She sat down and said, “Are there Sony smartphones?”
I told him that yes, there were Sony smartphones to buy. “In fact,” I said, “Sony smartphones are really cool.” She said it was interesting because she had never seen anyone use one before.
While this is obviously just a brief exchange between me and my girlfriend, it is a microcosm of Sony’s bigger problem. Despite the fact that Sony smartphones have great design and great features, it’s not all it takes to make a successful smartphone brand. Consumers need to know the phones, why they should buy one, and then be able to buy them easily, you know.
As far as I know, Sony does a great job of making smartphones, but doesn’t do too much work for these other three things.
A brief summary of the state of Sony smartphones
It’s no secret that Sony’s smartphone division is bleeding money. The division faces problems from all angles with waves of layoffs, plant closings and reduced operations in all regions of the world.
To put things in perspective, Huawei sold as many smartphones on an average day in 2019 as Sony sold an entire quarter. And Huawei is just the second-the largest smartphone company.
Fortunately for Sony, not all divisions of the brand do that badly. Sony smartphones can be kept afloat by these other divisions, including its gaming sector. However, there is little movement of money the business can make before the division sinks.
Huawei sold as many smartphones on an average day in 2019 as Sony sold over an entire quarter.
While all of this sounds disastrous for the brand, it may not matter. According to Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, the company’s smartphone activity is essential.
“We see smartphones as entertainment equipment and a necessary component to make our hardware brand sustainable,” said Yoshida. “The younger generations no longer watch television. Their first point of contact is a smartphone. “
With that in mind, Sony probably won’t stop making smartphones anytime soon. If he really wants to sell these phones, he has to change his tactics.
People need to know the phones
The fact that my girlfriend didn’t even know that Sony smartphones exist is bad news. Of course, she probably couldn’t tell you the name of the last Samsung Galaxy phone or when the next LG smartphone comes out. Likewise for Motorola, Google or even Apple. However, she knows these companies make smartphones.
It’s one thing to be a marketing team for a business and trying to figure out how to educate consumers about a particular product, but can you imagine trying to figure out how to let consumers know that you’re even making a product? This is Sony’s position right now from my point of view.
While it sounds daunting, it is not an impossible task. Obviously, marketing campaigns cost a lot of money and Sony will have to figure out how to pay. But if he wants to keep his smartphone division afloat, it’s an investment he will have to make.
Related: Specifications of the Sony Xperia 1 II: 5G, ultra-smooth screen and robust camera
Of course, that brings us to the next thing Sony needs to do, which is what sets Sony smartphones apart from other brands, and then push those aspects into its marketing. There are actually quite a few choices, such as the beautiful 4K screens on its flagship products, the excellent audio capabilities or even the phones’ unique minimalist design language. It could even be as simple as “Here’s the Sony Xperia 1 II. It is beautiful, powerful and has a headphone jack. “I mean, for many Android users, this is a solid argument.
The bottom line is that Sony smartphones are not going to sell. Unfortunately, even if Sony makes a concerted effort to properly market its devices, there would still be another hurdle to overcome, which makes phones easy to buy.
Where are the partnerships with the operators, Sony?
Here in the United States, the vast majority of smartphone buyers follow two steps when buying a new phone. The first step is to enter their local carrier store and the second step is to buy the phone that the employee tells them to buy.
Without hyperbole, this is how 85 to 90% of American smartphone buyers get a new phone. Since Sony has no partnership with any of the top four wireless carriers, there is a 0% chance that these buyers will leave with Sony smartphones in their hands.
Other brands of smartphones in difficulty such as LG and Motorola have partnerships with operators. Even OnePlus, a brand that is just over six years old, has some partnerships with operators. These brands know that if you want to sell your phones in the United States, you must have a presence in the operators’ stores.
Certainly, the United States is not the world. Sony smartphones are still sold worldwide. But, again, there are people here who don’t even know that Sony smartphones exist, and what better way to let them know than by partnering with at least one major American operator?
After all, even the best-designed phone ever combined with a great marketing campaign wouldn’t work if people couldn’t easily buy the phone.
It’s not too late for Sony smartphones
In a way, Sony is starting almost from scratch. Its smartphone division is in such bad shape that it would probably be better for it to consider Sony smartphones as a new brand that has just hit the market, but with the benefit of a huge company that supports it financially. That’s what OnePlus, Realme, and Poco have done, and these businesses are thriving.
Sony has everything it takes to succeed. Her phones look great and work well. Sure, their price is too high, and the company’s history of tracking Android updates is patchy at best, but that’s a whole different story. The point is, it’s not too late for Sony smartphones – the company could turn the tide.
The question remains whether Sony has the means to do so. I hope so, because the more competition in the smartphone industry, the better.