Thursday, 21 March 2013

Sony Xperia Z’s Missed Adventurous Market Segment

The latest smartphone hitting the Australian market is Sony’s new flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z. The company claims that the phone is waterproof and dustproof, these features can be extrapolated as making the phone ‘adventure proof’.

A phone that can be dropped in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes and still function normally would be appreciated by anyone who has had to dig deep into their pocket to replace a handset that has been ruined by exposure to water. None of the other phones dominating the smartphone market to this point can boast of being both water and dustproof (ex. Apple’s iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3, HCT One).

The Xperia Z is very much targeted at the upper class tertiary educated 25-40 year old who enjoys life and appreciates a quality phone camera that will capture their adventurous moments. A market segment that Sony has missed in terms of targeting are mothers of young children, who highly value anything that is electrical and waterproof.

With sons aged 2 and 3 years old, (who I collectively refer to as my ‘jungle animals’), I am constantly in the middle of daily if not hourly ‘adventure’. I have had to replace a smart phone after ‘nobody’ dropped it in the toilet recently. It’s replacement was quickly covered with a military grade, dust, water, and shock proof case. The downfall of this case is that the sound is very muffled, leading me to question why I have a phone if I struggle to use it for it’s most basic of functions: communicating on the phone.

The number of times that I have to ‘rescue’ my phone from testing the true capabilities of its protective case vary on a daily basis, but usually range within the 5-10 mark. Fish tanks, sinks and bath tubs filled with soapy water, and even sprinklers and swimming pools are potential dangers to my phone. Ideally I want to have a phone that I can use without a cover and be assured that it is going to endure a day in my household.

Had the Xperia Z been targeted to also include those caring for little ones, I’m sure that Sony’s ‘waterproof-dustproof-adventure proof’ features would have been recognized as sought after handset for this market segment.

When have you seen a product overlook a very relevant segment of a target market?

Mina D'Souza
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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