Sony is mostly in the news for the wrong reasons these days, and must be watching Apple’s stream of extraordinary quarterly results with envy. Long gone are the days when Sony was widely accepted to be the world’s leading consumer electronics brand.
Surprisingly, in spite of various setbacks over the years, Sony’s brand profile remains relatively strong. Our ConsumerMetrix service reports that nearly 20% of Sony TV owners in the US have annual household incomes above $100,000, compared to 15.6% of all TV owners. At the other end of the scale, only 12% of Sony TV owning households earn less than $25,000 a year, compared to 19% of all TV households.
Higher average income profiles are matched by the technology ownership profiles of Sony TV owners. Across the entire US/EU4 survey sample Sony customers are typically 5-10% more likely to own a TV-related device than the market as a whole. For example, 74% own a digital TV set-top box (compared to 68% overall), 66% own a plasma or LCD TV (62%) and 24% own a PS3 games console (22%).
This pattern continues in portable, mobile and computing technology ownership: for example 20% of Sony TV owning households own at least one Apple iPhone (compared to 17% of all households).
So while Sony as a company faces wider problems, the profile of its customer base still seems relatively healthy.
The results confirm what I have seen a number of times over the years: it is often some years before a firm’s declining financial health begins to have an equivalent impact on the way its brand is perceived by consumers. It may not be much but Sony may draw some comfort from these findings during its latest attempts to get back on track.
Note: This data is drawn from Strategy Analytics’ ConsumerMetrix survey fielded in Q3 2011. Base: 4298 TV owners in US, France, Germany, Italy and UK