Pan-African region, SA are important to Sony’s growth plan

In this file photo a customer walks away after purchasing the new Sony Playstation 5 in Seoul. Photo: AFP

In this file photo a customer walks away after purchasing the new Sony Playstation 5 in Seoul. Photo: AFP

Published Feb 1, 2024


Sony Middle East and Africa says the pan-African region and South Africa are very important to the business and its expansion ambitions.

This comes as Sony, which produces electronic goods, expects the consumer electronics industry to grow with market volume growth of 1.2% this year in the Middle East and Africa, according to Jobin Joejoe, the deputy managing director at Sony Middle East and Africa.

In an interview with Business Report, Joejoe said popular products included smartphones, televisions, home appliances, and gaming consoles, among others.

“We are also expecting to see growth in technology innovations such as AI advancements, IOT, 5G, growing demand for smart home solutions and sustainability as a focus.

“Consumer electronics businesses are changing their relationship with the environment by combining innovative technology with the continuous reduction of environmental impact at production sites, accelerated energy-saving mandates, the installation of solar power generation equipment, and the introduction of renewable energy,” Joejoe said.

According to Statista, this year the revenue in the consumer electronics market in South Africa amounts to $6.32 billion (R120bn) and was projected to grow annually by 2.57% (CAGR 2024-2028) in the country.

By this year, online sales were expected to contribute 20.7% of the total revenue in the consumer electronics market. Looking ahead to 2028, the volume in this market was projected to reach 64.4 million pieces.

Furthermore, there was an expected volume growth of 1.8% in 2025.

Lastly, Statista said the average volume per person in the South African consumer electronics market was estimated to be 1.0 pieces this year.

Sony said South Africa had seen a surge in demand for smart TVs, with consumers increasingly seeking high-quality entertainment options for their homes.

The company said currency fluctuations, inflation and overall economic challenges experienced by many South Africans last year had led to a drop in demand in a few categories.

However, Sony had still seen an increased demand for products such as cameras, audio headphones and speakers post-Covid with more people travelling and socialising.

Joejoe said Sony was seeing similar trends in the global economy coming to this region.

In order to mitigate such impacts on the business, Sony had streamlined their route-to-market to ensure minimised cost impact and shorter lead times, with these benefits being passed on to end consumers to ensure best value proposition.

“We have also started to provide unique and value-added Sony offerings to our consumers that are exclusive to Sony, such as Sony BRAVIA XR TVs packed with smart functionalities and PlayStation unique features for avid gamers, award-winning X1000 noise cancelling series, Inzone gaming headsets and entire content creation solutions under our Alpha series of Digital Imaging products with over 73 lenses.”

Sony said one of its key strategies for its 2024 expansion plan across the region was to have extensive channel and category developments to cater for the needs of the South African/African consumers. This included introduction of Sony’s audio products by partnering with telecom networks, expanding its presence via organised retail channels in both off-line and online.

Asked about the impact of load shedding, Joejoe said putting Sony’s consumers in the centre of developing their products had been a core focus for them.

“We understand that load shedding in particular has brought many inconveniences to consumers. To overcome this and alleviate some of the pressure, we launched products with long-lasting battery life such as the Sony XV900 portable speaker with 25 hours battery life and capacity to charge other devices, such as mobile phones, during load shedding.”

Joejoe said South African consumers had always been ahead of the curve when it came to adopting new technologies and the country played an important role in establishing new trends and experiences for the entire pan-African region, hence it continued to be one of the key markets for Sony.

“Our aim is to continue connecting with this audience and contributing to the local economy through key events such as the Sony Alpha Festival, which takes place in three major cities in the country: Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.”

Another strategic area Sony would be focusing on this year was premium demand creation through Sony’s creative offerings, by bringing all their group companies (PlayStation, Sony Music, Sony Pictures) expertise to Sony products with a focus on creating cutting-edge technology while reducing environmental impact.

“As part of Sony Group’s Road to Zero plan, we have made a number of ambitious commitments to address the environmental footprint of our products and business activities. This includes a commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040,” Joejoe said.