Sony has released full year results for the year ended 31 March 2020, giving us a glimpse into the latest performance of the business, particularly in light of COVID-19 disruptions. As expected, the mobile business had a weak last quarter. Sony shipped just 400,000 smartphones between January and March 2020, against a forecast of 700,000 smartphones. This meant that overall, Sony shipped 3.2 million smartphones during the fiscal year – this is half of what it shipped the year before (6.5 million smartphones).
Interestingly enough, last year’s figure was also half of that from the year before, when it shipped 13.5 million smartphones. So, the trend down has been pretty depressing. Sony has understandably not revealed forecasts for FY2020, given the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s difficult to know how much Sony expects its smartphone business to bounce back.
There has been a lot of positive buzz around its new 2020 devices, including the Xperia 1 II and Xperia 10 II, but both phones are still yet to launch. By the time they do, they are not expected to make any meaningful impact or the current quarter (Sony’s fiscal Q1). Neither phone is due to launch until June, yet here we are in mid-May, and the Xperia 1 II is yet to even hit pre-order.
Could we see a delay in these smartphones coming to market due to coronavirus? Well Sony confirmed that its factories it owns in China and Thailand that make smartphones are “currently operating as usual”. However, it did caveat this by saying that some of its partner companies in Malaysia and the Philippines who supply components to Sony have reduced their operations, “causing a delay in the production of some Sony products due to component shortages.”
We don’t know which Sony products it is referring to, but of course its yet-to-launch smartphones could be affected. In terms of what the company is seeing in the market across all of its product businesses, Sony confirmed that “retail sales have decreased significantly, with the deterioration in market conditions in Europe currently being the most severe.”
Let’s hope that once the much-anticipated Xperia 1 II and Xperia 10 II smartphones do make it to market, it provides the turnaround that Sony is hoping for in its mobile business.