2020 to be challenging year for Sony India, bets on 2021: MD

New Delhi, May 18 (PTI) Consumer electronics major Sony India expects 2020-21 year to remain challenging due to the coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdown and anticipates the growth to revive only in the next year, a top company official said.

The company, however, expects some demand to return by the third quarter when the festive season starts, aided by an expected good monsoon and other factors such as pent up demand after the lockdown.

Besides, Sony India is also positioning and strengthening its sales and distribution channels under the new normal, giving more push to e-commerce platforms and contactless delivery services through its network of dealers.

'The first quarter is really terrible, no doubt about it and in the second quarter, we wish to get some demand back and for the third and the fourth quarter, I am still optimistic if not bullish. But moving forward from FY21, there is no stopping either for India or as for brand Sony,' Sony India Managing Director Sunil Nayyar told PTI.

Despite a difficult market environment under the new normal, Sony India is working to strengthen its processes, channel alignments as it plans to go in the market post lockdown with new offers and safe services to consumers.

“This fiscal I am dedicating to survival and strengthening our processes, our backend infrastructure, helping our customers and stabilising our operations and getting closer in terms of communications under the new normals,” he added.

Earlier this month, Sony India had started online advance booking for home audio-video products, which will be delivered to customers after the lockdown is lifted.

The company is working on an online strategy along with its exclusive retailing outlets besides channel partners.

'We were in the online space but not so strong. Now of course, as per the strategy, we will adapt to this under the new normals. I am not only talking about Amazon and Flipkart but even referring to my retailers, which are also thinking online. They are going to strengthen our platform,” said Nayyar, adding that Sony Centres would also be able to sell directly to consumers online.

It has 188 stores under Sony Centres and Sony Exclusive in the country.

Moreover, it is also working with other multi-brand stores, which are now working on e-commerce. Sony India is sharing its message informing about offers which Sony has for customers and adherence to the safety aspects while delivering and installation of the product.

“For example, Amazon, Flipkart, Croma, Vijay Retail can sell online, many retailers across this country have, now in the process of developing their website. We are working very closely with them, we will share contents with them, share all plans like offers with them and we work very closely with their database management.

'They have lots of customers, how we message out our philosophy, EMIs and everything would be routed with their data-based management structure and through their online portals,” he said.

Moreover, Nayyar is also looking at lockdown as an “opportunity” for the company as TV viewing has almost doubled and suddenly people are realising to upgrade their TV viewing experience along with a better sound system.

Also as movie halls would be closed for another six months, consumption of OTT content is expected to rise on large screen TV sets along with home-theatre systems. People would certainly need good equipment either a bigger screen or a soundbar to enhance the cinema experience.

In addition to that, work-from-home is now a new culture and everybody needs a good headphone for seamless communication, which would push the segment, Nayyar said.

The company expects the existence of pent up demand for its big screensize television, soundbars and home theatres and there are chances that demand could revive during festive sales.

“Monsoons are predicted good this time and sentiment would be lifting up during Diwali period and then off course onwards, India is a great story. Everything is positive by then… It would take little long term but we are in a bright spot,” he said adding that from August-end everything would be under control.

The company is also encouraged by the pre-booking and said that the numbers which are pouring in are not bad.

“People are buying as anticipated 43-inch screen TV, which has shown a good demand, 55-inch has shown a good demand… I think, we need to reach customers often with attractive offers, which normally we do this in Diwali,” he added.

Sony is manufacturing its Bravia range of TVs in India, in an OEM partnership with Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu-based Competition Team Technology and expects to start manufacturing from Monday. PTI KRH MR MR