x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Large-screen TVs make it big in the Middle East and Africa

Consumers in the region have been spending up to Dhs100,000 on Sony's 84-inch 4K televisions to mark the region as one of the fastest growth areas for the company.

Mena leads Europe and the US for sales of 4K screens, which boast four times the resolution of full high-definition quality. Lee Hoagland / The National
Mena leads Europe and the US for sales of 4K screens, which boast four times the resolution of full high-definition quality. Lee Hoagland / The National

Consumers in the region have been spending up to Dh100,000 on Sony's 84-inch, next-generation 4K televisions to mark the region as one of the fastest growth areas for the company.

Sales in the Middle East and Africa were the second highest for the company after its home market of Japan.

The region leads Europe and the United States for sales of 4K screens, which boast four times the resolution of full high-definition quality.

"Sales greatly exceeded expectations, we have sold the highest number of 4K TVs than any of our competitors," said Hiroyasu Sugiyama, Sony's managing director for the region. The manufacturer wants to sell 1,000 of the 84-inch models by the end of the year. Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar recorded the strongest sales in the region.

Sharp has also enjoyed increased sales of large-screen televisions in the region with about 110 per cent growth of its 60 to 90-inch screens last year over 2011.

Last year 800,000 television sets were sold in the UAE, of which 17 per cent were smart TVs and 15 per cent were 3D sets.

"The income of the people in the UAE is higher than the rest of the Middle East, we have a good mix of nationalities, local Emiratis and expats who understand the value of good quality products.

"Also we have very strong retail coverage using Jumbo stores and other retailers," said Mr Sugiyama.

Now Sony is targeting a wider customer base with the launch in Dubai of two new models - a 65-inch and 55-inch model, which will be in stores by June 20. They will be priced at a more modest Dhs29,999 and Dhs19,999, respectively.

"We realised the 84-inch TV is not for everyone, so we are introducing 4K to a much wider customer base," said Mr Sugiyama. "We expect to sell three to five times as many of these new models."

4K technology is set to replace full-HD imaging within the next few years. Already, films such as The Amazing Spider-manand After Earth have been shot using the new technology.

But analysts are less than optimistic about global 4K TV sales.

"Longer-term 4K will start to grow, but it will still be limited by the fact that most homes don't have rooms big enough to accommodate the required screen size," said Adam Thomas, media research manager at Informa Telecoms and Media.

Sony's global operations have struggled recently. The company's chief executive, Kazuo Hirai, last month outlined a revival plan for the company with a renewed focus on smartphones.

"Regionally our focus is on smartphones and the growing TV market. We expect faster growth for smartphones, with double digit growth. The industry is expected to grow by 20-30 per cent next year," said Mr Sugiyama.

The company expects global smartphone sales to rise by more than a quarter to 42 million units through the end of March next year. It is vying to be one of the three biggest makers, against competition from the likes of China's Huawei and South Korea's LG, which makes Google's flagship Nexus smartphones.

By the end of the revival plan, Sony's core electronics businesses - camera, mobile and gaming - are meant to account for 65 per cent of revenues and 80 per cent of operating profit.

 

thamid@thenational.ae