Welcome to Influencers, our annual series that speaks with the heads of retailers, suppliers and industry bodies to find out what is happening in appliances and electronics and how different companies are shaping its future.

Today we visit with Vincent Yip, deputy managing director at Sony Australia & New Zealand. After a turbulent 12 months at the venerable Japanese brand, Yip is looking forward to selling some highly featured TVs and cameras and making headlines for the right reasons.

Retailers embracing Sony: Vincent Yip.
Retailers embracing Sony: Vincent Yip.

How has the first half of 2014 been for your business?

We’ve had an exciting and busy start to the year, launching around 70 products in the market to date. With a strong focus on quality and a consumer appetite for premium products, this year Sony Australia has launched several high-end products across all its categories, offering, where applicable, high image and sound quality, portability and a range of connectivity options from NFC to Bluetooth.

Sony’s Digital Imaging division wowed camera enthusiasts last year by offering the world’s smallest and lightest full frame interchangeable lens camera as part of the award winning α7 series. The latest model, the α7S, was announced in April.

Sony was first to market with a complete high-resolution range of audio products, from headphones and wireless speakers, to home audio receivers and Walkmans.

In addition, we recently announced the availability of our 2014 range of 4K Ultra HD and Full HD TVs.

What are your predictions for the second half of the year?

The second half of the year will see us continue to focus on our premium ranges, including 4K Ultra HD and large screen TVs. Approximately four out of ten TVs currently sold in Australia are 50-inch and above, and along with Australia’s combined love of sport, Sony believes the demand for 4K Ultra HD and larger screen TVs will continue to grow.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil [was] a key purchase period for TVs. We recently launched our ‘Score Twice’ promotion, with Sony giving away a bonus PlayStation 4 (PS4) with the purchase of selected Sony TV models. We are pleased to offer great value to our customers, as well as being able to give retailers an added incentive to entice consumers into stores with this deal.

The retailers…really embraced the campaign and we appreciate their promotional support.

What opportunities do you see for the electrical retailing industry?

In a complex retailing environment such as Australia, we believe it’s important for us to work closely with our electrical retailing partners to deliver the right products at the right price that will drive sustained consumer demand in both the short and long term.

Our focus is on using the strength of Sony’s innovation expertise to create the kind of premium products with leading edge technology that both retailers and consumers are demanding.

This is good news for our electrical retail partners who recognise that our focus on innovative technology and quality of product creates a ‘win-win’ situation of strong consumer demand and sustained margins.

The growth of smartphones provides an opportunity in terms of accessories, associated wearables and products that work in conjunction with smartphones through NFC. For example, we recently launched SmartBand, an innovative life logging wristband that records your physical, social and entertainment activities. By downloading the unique Sony Lifelog app to your smartphone you can set activity goals and monitor progress.

What threats are currently present in the industry?

(Vincent Yip did not provide a satisfactory answer to this question.)

What is your favourite product of 2014 so far?

I would have to say the α7S, which offers extraordinary sensitivity, low noise and spectacular 4K video quality for photographers and videographers.

Spectacular: Sony 75.
Spectacular: Sony α7S.