Digital Cameras Offer Growth Opportunities
By Greg Tarr On Aug 30 2010 - 4:01am
TWICE: How is business so far this year?
Liz Cutting, imaging director, The NPD Group:
As we look
at year-to-date sales at the end of May compared to the same
time last year, technologies including IT, CE and imaging, and
excluding mobile phones and video game hardware and software,
sales have been basically flat in terms of dollars. But
we’re in an amazing spot right now because if you look at
cameras alone, we’re actually up in revenue by 7 percent. All
of that growth at this time is driven by detachable-lens cameras.
If you look at the detachable-lens segment, we’re up in
dollars by 31 percent. Certainly we had a tough year last year,
but compared to other categories, things are looking very
good for detachable-lens cameras, and even some compactcamera
The economy has a lot to do with this. Those who are more
affluent are back investing in the [camera] market. If you look
at detachable-lens penetration in May, the d-SLRs were at 12
percent penetration in 2009, 11 percent in 2010. When you
look at those who earn $75,000 or more, against a base of d-
SLR penetration of 11 percent, we have an affluent-household
penetration of 22 percent, so that’s where we’re really seeing
the growth. That’s why I think there’s a lot of room for growth
and opportunity this year in both detachable-lens cameras as
well as advanced compact cameras.
Accessories go along with that. Certainly we’ve seen a 23
percent increase in dollars in camera accessories like lenses,
tripods and flashes.
Overall, the household penetration of compacts is pretty
saturated. We were at 75 percent in 2009, 73 percent in
2010, which is interesting.
Price is the No. 1 decision factor across most cameras
segments, but when you look at cameras over $300, price
becomes the fifth most important thing, features, brand trust is
second, then performance, then latest technology, then price.
David Lee, senior VP, Nikon:
For our company we continue
to look at what the consumer is looking for. We continue
to see excellent sales in our D3000 and D5000 entry-level
d-SLR cameras, the consumer is very comfortable with that
form factor at this point in time in the U.S., but where we see
a lot of growth and opportunity this year is in long-zoom pointand-
shoot cameras. The people that are coming in as repeat
buyers really seem to be going in that direction, as well as to
touchscreen models, so on and so forth. That’s driving a lot of
our business this year.
Chuck Westfall, consumer imaging products technical
advisor, Canon USA:
The detachable-lens category has certainly
been the most pleasant sight for us to see. The bounce
back from 2009 has been impressive especially in the first
half. We’ve done very, very well with the EOS lineup. The Rebel T2i is a good example and also the 7D and 5D. But I think
the other thing that goes along with that are accessory sales,
especially the lenses and speed lights. All of those are good
profit builders and good add-ons to the sale.
Ron Gazzola, marketing and operations VP, Fujifilm
We’ve had great success the first half and
saw a lot of market share growth with our long-zoom S-series
cameras, like our S2700 and S1800. We’ve also had great
success with our adventure category, the XP10, doing very
well. As we look to the second half, I think those areas will
continue to see great results because we think that consumers
will be coming back for that long-zoom feature set and the
XP10 active-use camera for the family.
The Z70 has been a great camera for us in terms of that
fashion-oriented, gift-giving item, which always seems to do
really well at the holidays. So those are three key areas for us
that we’ll continue to address in the back half.
Richard Campbell, digital imaging marketing director,
We had an interesting approach to the market
through the introduction of our DualView cameras last year.
We had a tremendous amount of success with our launch.
Certainly it was sort of an “ah-ha” moment, putting an LCD on
the front of the camera to allow consumers to take pictures differently.
The success carried over into the spring of this year,
and we’ve supported the category with our Alicia Keyes ad
campaign this quarter, and the consumers have really adapted
to it. It’s helped with ASPs [average selling prices]. Certainly,
consumers are willing to step up for that type of feature and
benefit. And our products with the touchscreens have fueled a
lot of our business and helped fill a niche that hasn’t been met
by a product in the marketplace.
Mark Weir, digital imaging senior technical manager,
Price sensitivity is something that’s a given
for consumers. You read any of the syndicated research, and
that is certainly in the top three of their consideration set when
they’re purchasing. However, I do think that the push for added value, particularly addressing the demands of
the repeat customer, is in many ways going to
give customers opportunities to purchase products
that they wouldn’t otherwise have been
attracted to. A lot is changing in digital imaging
right now, the emergence of different form
factors, the emergence of interchangeable-lens
cameras in new areas, the emergence of new
feature sets … We think that is going to attract
customers to purchase better products, more
expensive products, and we think that is going
to somewhat temper the decline in ASPs that
we typically see in the back half of the year.
Dennis Eppel, merchandising VP, Panasonic:
The opportunity that we see in the compact
size is really the long zoom, so you know
our business is doing exceptionally well when
you get to the higher zooms and the compact
Mark Sherengo, sales and marketing director,
I agree that price in
niche segments will be important to the back
half. We understand our role at Pentex has
been as a niche player, and we also realize that
photography is a personal choice. We go out
after that unique customer. The color-SLR for
example — Our K-x introductory-level SLR has
been a great success for us. We’ve out sold
our expectations globally on that product and
will continue that in the back half with some new
launches. We’re going to stick with the theme of
photography being personal. Our W90, which
is an 11th-generation adventure-proof camera,
has done excellently for us, and we expect that
to continue into the back half of the year.
We have to constantly answer the question
why Pentax. We have to help the end users to
see themselves using our product, and that’s
what we’re going to focus on.
Pete Palermo, product marketing director,
The primary focus for us this
year is on post-capture. So, we hear time and
time again from consumers, “Make it easy for
us to get video and stills off my camera and
make it easy for me to do things with those
pictures and videos.” So consumers who are
in the market, especially for our products, are
looking for products that make it easier for them
to share and relive those moments. So secondtime
buyers, third-time buyers, are less focused
necessarily on megapixels and zoom ratio and
now see the importance of LCD size and post
capture attributes. So quality of the LCD, ease
of use in terms of on-camera review, sharing
and so forth are key elements in our lines.