Over the years, Sony has established itself as a premium brand in the Indian market. It has sustained this position, catering to the various consumer product segments. We at Techshout (TS) conducted an email interview with Takakiyo Fujita (TF), General Manager, Marketing, Sony India to know more about how the journey has been so far and also about what’s in store for the Indian market this year.
TS: Describe your operations in India? Can you shed light on the recent developments?
TF: Sony India is one of the most recognized consumer electronics brand in the country, with a reputation for new age technology, digital concepts and excellent after sales service. In India, Sony has its footprint across all major towns and cities in the country through a distribution network comprising of over 4000 dealers and distributors, 240 exclusive Sony outlets and 19 direct branch locations. We had a target of 21% growth in financial year 2009-10 with a turnover of Rs. 40 billion and we are very much on our way to achieve it. We look forward to maintain the same growth momentum for the next fiscal year as well.
TS: How has the Indian consumer segment changed over the years?
TF: Consumer preferences in the last decade have changed drastically because of the technological revolution that has taken place in this period. The consumer expectations have increased manifold which is good only as it makes for healthy competition and widens the scope of marketing of larger product portfolio. Sony manufactures products which are stylish, have high utility value and at the same time reasonably priced.
TS: How well has the Indian market responded to the LCD displays?
TF: Indian market is a fast growing market for LCD Displays. The LCD Television market size is expected to increase by 50% from 1000 k units to 1500 k units in FY09-10. For Sony, BRAVIA LCD TV share is estimated to increase to 30% in the FY09, up from the 28% in FY08.
TS: How has the response been to the ultra-slim Sony Vaio X laptop in India? How about extending the tablet PC market in India?
TF: The response has been extremely good. We expect to sell 1,20,000 notebooks in FY09. Sony India’s FY09 target Market share in the consumer notebook segment is 15% with an aim to reach 20% by FY 2009-10 with the launch of the new VAIO models.
TS: How many products can we expect to be released in the Indian market in Q1 of 2010?
TF: Only very recently, we introduced a revolutionary ultra portable notebook called the VAIO X in the Indian market. Throughout the year, it is our endeavor to roll out such innovative, unique products in all categories for the Indian Consumer, keeping in line with our ideology to manufacture products that fit the Sony brand.
TS: On the LCD front, Samsung and LG seem to be giving a stiff competition. Any strategies or technologies that would help Sony stand apart?
TF: Sony’s BRAVIA series combines Sony’s trademark stylish design and great picture quality which makes it a truly revolutionary product. We are following unique three pillar strategy which includes Technological Advancement, Channel Expansion and Effective Marketing Strategies. We provide our customers the latest and unparallel technology like BE3 BRAVIA Engine 3 in the LCD line up. We also try to maximize reach to our target consumer through channel development which will see us strengthening the wide distribution network of BRAVIA LCD Touch points which includes Sony Centers & Dealers. We also continue to focus on enhancing the brand image this year with significant ATL and BTL activities in the BRAVIA category that involves print and electronic media, online, outdoor and shop-front.
TS: The Exmor technology in digital cameras was quite revolutionary. Will future digital cameras see such advancements in this coming year?
TF: The “Exmor R” CMOS technology allows you to enjoy richer colors, high-speed processing and lower power consumption. To improve the Picture Quality substantially, we have introduced Cyber-shot Cameras which come enabled with the BIONZ image processor which delivers high resolution and fast processing. Sweep Panorama Mode to create the wide panoramic image in the camera in just seconds, clear images in low light settings, even without a flash. Whether shooting movies or still images, you’ll be amazed by the simply spectacular results. To make sure that you do not miss out any detail of decisive moments because of Shutter time, like a ball hitting the bat, the latest range of our Cyber shot cameras come with the ability to shoot 10 images in one second at up to 10.2 megapixel resolution through the mechanical shutter.
TS: What will Sony’s MP3 portfolio particularly have in store for music enthusiasts in 2010, considering the company’s July announcement of taking over 30% MP3 market share in India?
TF: We recently launched E-Series with Speakers. We have an entire portfolio of new products for the MP3 segment which we shall roll out as per the schedule.
TS: Which has been the most promising product in the Indian market last year?
TF: We have achieved very good growth results in all the key categories that we market in India. BRAVIA LCD’s, Cyber-shot Cameras, W Series Walkman, VAIO W & X have got very enthusiastic consumer response which has translated in both sales and brand enhancement for Sony India.