San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
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TWICE: With 50 to 70 percent of the camera market repeat buyers, are first-time camera buyers a meaningful demographic at this point? Are you cognizant of the first time purchaser? Are you courting him or her?
Lee: We think they're extremely important at Nikon because, obviously, their first experience, if it's a great experience, you're obviously branding them as a consumer for your company. So we try to pay special attention to what their needs are. We try to talk to them as much as possible so we understand what was keeping them from the marketplace.
Pepple: I still think there's a fear of conversion with some people. Now that the prices are down and the technology is up, and it's easy to use, it really is now point-and-shoot simple. Fujifilm is pioneering the use our Super CCD technology to try and drive some of the new technologies that we have in the camera to make it easy, to make low light [photography] possible, and we still think there's a large pool of first-time buyers as well as repeat buyers now upgrading their cameras to the higher technology.
Rubin: I think that's where there's a great opportunity in features like face detection, as Phil mentioned earlier. Again, especially in point and shoot, getting a higher percentage of those pictures captured as great memorable ones with minimal fuss is key.
Magee: We believe first-time buyers are extremely important on two fronts. One, they really represent the EasyShare brand, the ease of use, that resounds very well. Secondly, first-time buyers, as I said, they maybe outside the U.S. They are a big market for us. They're going to put a lot of their household income on the line to buy that camera. So they want the right camera.
Maciag: We certainly make products for the first-time consumer, ease of use certainly is very important, with large LCD's at affordable price points. And then, we also offer an opportunity to step up through the line for that second time consumer. So I think you have to address the first-time user, but you still have to offer a top notch quality camera at the same time.
Cordova: There's a lot of consumers out there who own our televisions and own our phones, and are buying our digital cameras now even though we're young to this industry. But we provide a series of products that are particularly geared to the first time consumer and it's done very well.
Lubell: I think that there are some positive things that will make [demystifying the technology] easy. We heard lifestyle mentioned, design features that make for better photo taking and how we share those images. All those things are an opportunity to bring new customers into the marketplace.
TWICE: Are newcomers intimidated though by some of the features that you mentioned, like face detection and anti-shake? Are they afraid of features that are not communicated as easily as the megapixel messaging?
Pepple: On the contrary. I think that if we keep the naming of these technology simple and to the point — such as anti-shake, anti-blur, face detection — then these types of things are easy for the consumer to understand, and they resound because they've had these problems with their film cameras. Certainly, they've had these problems with their digital cameras. So if we keep the technology simple and easy to understand, don't bury it into the camera, it will be very easy for the consumer to adapt and jump on to.
Cordova: I think there are buzzwords that the consumers lock into, probably because of their influencers or whoever they're talking to as the experts on buying a digital camera. Consumers are predisposed and locked into anti-shake and face detection and some of the other features that are out there as buzz words. The only one that hasn't seemed to work real well is wireless so far.