Sony will pivot to selling only "premium" Xperia phones in India. The Japanese giant said that it would "defocus" on certain markets earlier this year, opting to turn its attention toward the high-end segment rather than duke it out in the competitive budget category.
Vijay Singh Jaswal, head of Sony India's Xperia business, revealed the new strategy in an interview with the Times of India:
Sony Mobile drove transformation in FY15 towards a profitable and sustainable company globally including the areas mentioned. As part of our transformation, we are sharpening our focus on select products and sales channels.
Considering the recent shift, our marketing strategy will now revolve around offering premium products in the smartphone segment.
According to Jaswal, Sony has seen a 55% YoY increase in average selling price in the Indian market in Q1 2016, and the company will continue to focus on the high-end segment:
Going forward we [Sony] aim to launch flagship products for our customers in India which will further enhance our presence in the market.
Sony saw a meager 0.3% YoY growth in India, which is likely the main reason for the shift in strategy. The brand was woefully unprepared to deal with the Chinese contingent of Lenovo, Xiaomi, Huawei, and OnePlus among others, which have cornered the budget and mid-tier segments.
Sony has always relied on its brand cachet to drive sales, but it could not compete with the value for money on offer with the likes of the Redmi Note 3 and the LeEco Le 2. With Samsung similarly crowding out the high-end segment, it is unlikely Sony will see a drastic uptick in its market share soon.