Sony sold less than 15 million smartphones in the past year, actually pulling off a small division profit
For Sony, the past fiscal year started on April 1, 2016 and concluded this March 31, seeing overall sales stick to approximately the same level as the previous 12 months, with “significant increases” reported in gaming and semiconductors departments, but the Mobile Communications segment yet again posting disappointing results.
Namely, the Japanese tech titan’s smartphone operating revenue slipped from 1.1 trillion to just 759.1 billion yen ($6.8 billion), representing a 32.7 percent yearly decline, caused by a decrease in unit sales “mainly in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America”, as well as a “significant downsizing of unit sales in unprofitable regions.”
In other words, Sony anticipated and even pursued this slump by “contracting” its mobile business in certain “unfriendly” markets, not to mention reducing the number of new Xperia releases worldwide, and at the end of the day, the larger goal was achieved.
After losing 61.4 billion yen between April 2015 and March 2016, Sony Mobile actually yielded a (tiny) operating profit of 10.2 billion yen, or $91 million. What you have to wonder is how can that figure be boosted when only 2.9 million units were shipped in the three opening months of 2017? Yes, you read that right, 2.9 mil, which is about as much as the Galaxy S8 alone probably sold in a few days of global availability.
Sony’s smartphone tally for the full FY16 is similarly modest, at 14.6 million units, down YoY from 24.9M. Sounds like a dying business, no matter how you spin it, in stark contrast with always profitable, always popular PlayStations, image sensors and recorded music.