By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
TWICE: IDC has used the phrase "mobile-phone-style churn" to describe the dynamics of the point-and-shoot market. Is this a sustainable model?
Lubell: I think in the short term I would say it is enough because cameras are becoming smaller. There is more technology for point-and-shoots.
Henderson: I agree with Phil. Five years ago we would probably never have thought about GPS tagging and technology such as that. There is bound to be some latest and greatest that is going to be coming down the pike soon. So that is going to create the turn. Obviously, style plays a huge factor in it now as cameras are becoming a personal item.
Magee: We really see style as important. It's not just an old point-and-shoot. We've invested a lot of money in ergonomic designs
With our introduction of the Motozoom camera this year we're trying to switch the game a little bit. We're making a camera that is a phone vs. a phone that is also a camera. It's only just coming to market now, but we think it will be appealing to our photo customers going forward.
Hunter: Let's remember what the head of the U.S. Patent Office said at the [last] turn of the century: "anything worthwhile that could be invented has already been invented." So can enough new technology be introduced each year to compel trade-ups? Yes — provided that new products offer meaningful benefits to the consumer that can be explained by retailers.
Cutting: I think there will continue to be more technology-based improvements that will compel people to buy, but it may not be at the same rate as mobile phones.
TWICE: In your view, have retailers done a good job in communicating the message of the more advanced features that helps drive product turnover?
Peck: I think some retailers have done a very good job, particularly with SLRs. Some retailers dedicate space to explaining the SLR. They put the lenses next to the SLR and many are putting photo quality printers in the same area so the consumer can see the input to output solutions.
I think the Internet plays a part and today consumers have done their research. Some of the Internet players, or even the retailers with good Web content, have done a good job selling higher-quality products along with lenses and accessories.
Henderson: Eliott is correct with the digital-SLR scenario. However, on the point-and-shoot side it is difficult for a manufacturer to convey features and benefits on a 3-inch fact tag at retail. What is it going to come down to? It is going to come down to price, it is going to come down to quantifiable numbers like zoom — numbers that can resonate in the consumer's mind.
Pepple: We are expanding significantly our presence on the Internet. We're trying to address those education needs more with the internet this year.
Lee: We certainly see that the retailers that are able to convey those technologies are the winners. The ones that can't convey it or have a poor Web presence are the ones that are certainly losing out. We're trying to help the retailer with their in-store display, with the messaging as well as helping syndicate content to them that will make the Web more robust.
We find that when technologies are first announced, that is really the time to get the message out on the Internet because you get the buzz. If you create synergy with retail, and they call out the technology, you get better sell-through.
Lubell: It's a shared responsibility between the manufacturer and retailer. Consumers are shopping very differently for SLRs and point-and-shoots. Our research shows that they are researching six months in advance of purchase of an SLR. So consumers rely upon the manufacturers to clearly tell those technology benefits on their Web sites.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.