Buoyed by positive sentiment in market and forecast of a good monsoon, Japanese consumer electronics major Sony expects sales in India to grow over 20 per cent this fiscal. The company is looking at its TV panel category to drive the growth even as other verticals, such as home and car audio systems, camera and PlayStation also continue to gain traction.
“Our target is over 20 per cent. It should be better than last year,” Sony India Pvt Ltd Managing Director Kenichiro Hibi told PTI when asked about sales expectations for the new fiscal. Last fiscal, the company had registered around 20 per cent growth in sales despite demonetisation putting up a challenge.
The company does not make public its financial performance in India. This year, he said: “the sentiment is quite positive. One month has just passed and I have visited many places and found that consumers’ feeling was quite positive.” Hibi said the early onset of summer has had an indirect positive impact as good sales of air conditioners as it has put money in the hands of the company’s channel partners.
Moreover, he said, the forecast of a good monsoon augured well for the consumer durables industry as it would drive rural sales. “It is very good and impacts us positively as the upcountry business is dependent on agriculture. Good harvest means that they are coming to buy TV. The sentiments are good,” Hibi said.
At present, 40 per cent of Sony’s sales in India come from upcountry areas and is growing fast, he said while adding that the majority of sales continues to be driven by metro markets. “This is because our product portfolio is more premium. Upcountry sales is also increasing because the economy is growing and people are buying mid segment products. However, they are purchasing more in mid to high end,” Hibi said.
Elaborating on how purchasing pattern has changed in non-metro markets, he said that till about two to three years, in the TV panels, 24-inch screen size was the most sought after but now it is the 32-inch. “Even last year, we saw a good portion coming from 40 inch, which is mid to high end. They (upcountry) are going for bigger panels, which is good for us,” Hibi said.
On the overall products segment, he said TV panel is the biggest category but others such as audio, which has multiple categories like home theatre, speaker systems, headphone and bluetooth speakers for mobile phones are becoming very popular among youngsters. Even in cameras, Hibi said demand for point-and-shoot cameras have come back gradually after dropping for a few years due to the advent of smartphones.
“Customers now understand that mobile phones have limitations in shooting,” he said adding “even the professional segment is growing.” Sony India is also witnessing an increase in demand for car audio systems with the car industry growing almost 10 per cent last year. “More cars they would have, we would have more car audios,” Hibi quipped.