Sony Mobile looks to broaden appeal with Xperia Z1 Compact

Sony Mobile is hoping the launch of what it describes as the “world’s best premium compact smartphone” will broaden the appeal of its devices among a wider range of consumers beyond early adopters and “consolidate” its position as the UK’s third most popular smartphone brand behind Apple and Samsung.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact range

The Xperia Z1 Compact, unveiled today (7 January) at CES in Las Vegas, offers specifications akin to that of the flagship Xperia Z1 device but comes in a smaller size, with a 4.3 inch screen. It also comes in a range of colours: black, white, pink and lime.

Sony Mobile’s North West Europe marketing director Catherine Cherry told Marketing Week the device helps fill a “big gap in the market”, where there is demand for compact smartphones – but often smaller devices lack the premium features.

She added: “From a marketing point of view it’s important for us to communicate this is a better phone with all the specs. We are really sure this will be powerful because people want size but don’t want to make any compromise.

“We see that our brand has been slightly over-indexing with men so this device is definitely bringing an opportunity to have something that will excite a wider and perhaps more female audience.”

In an attempt to Sony Mobile’s brand appeal with the new device, upcoming product marketing for the Xperia Z1 compact will feature across more “mainstream” media than previous campaigns – which means the company will be spending more on marketing year on year as a result.

Cherry says unaided brand awareness of Sony Mobile has “more than doubled” in the past six months to about 30%, helped by a major campaign created by McCann Erickson to promote the Xperia Z product which ran in the early half of 2013 and the launch of the Xperia Z1 flagship handset in September.

Sony Mobile also claims to have held the UK number three spot in the smartphone market in terms of both value and volume, “for some time”, behind only Samsung and Apple.

Cherry says: “About 1 in 10 consumers choose a Sony phone and that’s a big step from a year ago – especially as around 10% of people say Sony is their favourite smartphone brand. In 2014 our goal is to expand on that number three position, making that a more consolidated position and increasing share.”