LG may have quit the smartphone market but it is hardly the only phone maker with revenue problems in that area. HTC hasn’t even launched that many phones last year and Sony, despite having more, continues to lose money over its mobile business. The latter, however, is no longer true after the company finally reported its first profits in the mobile business in years. That said, the reasons for the positive figures that surprised even Sony itself might not exactly be what you think.
Sony just recently revealed the figures for its 2020 fiscal year which ended on March 31, 2021. Comparing it to the same period last year, the company was surprised to see an operating income of 27.7 billion JPY, roughly $254 million. This is the first time it didn’t record a loss since 2017.
Interestingly, those profits didn’t come from selling more Xperia phones. In fact, it actually sold even fewer phones in FY 2020, around 2.9 million compared to the 3.2 million it shipped in 2019. So it’s not exactly Xperia phones suddenly became popular and hot-selling items in the past 12 months.
Instead, those profits came from Sony tweaking its production and manufacturing system, a.k.a. “cost-cutting”. It also says that it increased the average selling price of those phones so that even if it sold fewer units, it didn’t hurt its coffers that much compared to the previous fiscal year.
In that light, it might be too easy to belittle Sony’s victory but it was a victory nonetheless. That it came during the COVID-19 pandemic that hit all countries and industries makes that an even notable achievement, in fact. Unfortunately, that won’t be enough for the Xperia brand to rise to the top like in the old days but Sony has never been too concerned about that anyway.