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Sony smartphone sales are tanking and not even Japan wants them

Sony has cited a massive smartphone sales drop in Europe, Latin America, and it's home nation, in its Q3 2018 financial results.

Published onFebruary 1, 2019

The Sony Xperia XZ2 display.
  • Sony has reported a profit of almost $3.5 billion for the third quarter of its fiscal year.
  • The mobile division saw a big sales drop, however, resulting in a loss of over $140 million.
  • The firm cited decreasing sales in Europe, Japan and Latin America as a big reason for the loss.

Sony is in a similar position to LG these days, as the company at large tends to do well, but its mobile unit continues to struggle. Now, the Japanese firm has revealed its results for the third quarter of its 2018 fiscal year, and this still seems to be the case.

The company at large recorded operating revenue of 2.4 trillion yen (~$22 billion) for the quarter, representing a drop of 270.5 billion yen (~$2.48 billion) compared to a year ago. However, Sony also recorded an operating profit of 377 billion yen (~$3.46 billion), which makes for an improvement of 26.2 billion yen (~$240.6 million) compared to Q3 2017.

Sony’ game and network services division (i.e. the PlayStation business) was a pretty noteworthy performer, delivering 790.6 billion yen (~$7.26 billion) in sales for the quarter. This marks a pretty substantial improvement compared to a year ago, when it scored 718 billion yen (~$6.6 billion) in sales. But the unit’s operating profit was down compared to Q3 2017, going from 85.4 billion yen (~$784.2 million) to 73.1 billion yen (~$671.3 million). The company attributed the profit slide to promotional sales during the holiday season as well as a drop in hardware sales.

Smartphone sales take a plunge

Sony’s mobile communications unit reported sales of 137.2 billion yen (~$1.26 billion), making for a massive drop compared to a year ago. Back in Q3 2017, the division delivered sales of $217.5 billion yen (~$2 billion). The unit also went from making a 15.8 billion yen ($145.1 million) profit in Q3 2017 to losing 15.5 billion yen (~$142.3 million) in Q3 2018.

Sony Mobile exec confirms new "products" will be revealed at MWC 2019
Sony logo

The Japanese company cited a decrease in (surprise) smartphone sales as the main reason for the drop. Sony specifically pointed to decreased sales in Europe, Japan, and Latin America. The firm did however note a reduction in operating costs as one positive for the quarter.

It nonetheless represents a massive downturn in fortunes after a year, as the mobile unit struggles against the likes of Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, and other manufacturers. It doesn’t help that the likes of Xiaomi and Oppo have since entered more European markets, so we can expect Sony to come under more pressure in 2019.

NEXT: HUAWEI reveals first glimpse at 5G foldable phone coming at MWC

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