Sony targets older consumers with new audio system

Sony is targeting consumers at or near retirement age with a new home audio system that pairs a high-quality sound with a relatively low price and small size

Sony is targeting consumers at or near retirement age with a new home audio system that pairs high-quality sound with a relatively low price and small size.

The "System 501" products consist of an amplifier, a CD player and pair of speakers and will be launched in Japan in March. Collectively they'll cost YEN 234,150 (A$2,500), which is much less than other products delivering the same audio quality, said Kiyoshi Shikano, corporate senior vice president of Sony Marketing (Japan) at a Tokyo news conference Thursday. He said those in their fifties and above are looking for superior audio systems but typically find the products available are more expensive than they originally expected.

"Therefore we decided to have a much more reasonable price position with capable sound quality," he said in an interview. "Fortunately Sony has developed a quite high-level digital amplifier system called S-Mater Pro. By incorporating this technology we are realizing a small size. The most important thing about this product is not only the quality but the size of the products."

Both the amplifier and CD player are 28 centimeters wide and 11 centimeters high. The amplifier is 29 centimeters deep and the CD player is 27 centimeters deep. That makes them suitable for use in small-size Japanese rooms without too many problems, said Shikano.

Japan's aging population, coupled with their considerable cash savings, makes those nearing retirement an attractive target for companies of all kinds. Consumer electronics companies are finding that older, wealthier consumers are more likely to pay high prices for products that are judged to offer a superior performance over other cheaper, mass-market products.

The audio products are expected to go on sale overseas later in the year. No launch dates or prices were announced on Thursday.

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Martyn Williams

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