By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Samsung is aiming to upend the current digicam market share triumvirate of Sony, Olympus and Kodak by grabbing the No. 3 spot in 2005, said Samsung's Ken Gerb, VP/nationals sales.
"We're looking to do in digital cameras what we did with analog 35mm zoom cameras," Gerb said. The electronics manufacturer managed to grab the No. 3 spot in that market in 1999.
Now the company's sights are set on replicating the analog success in the digital arena.
The field is currently lead by fellow CE-manufacturer Sony and two traditional photo suppliers, Olympus and Kodak.
To achieve the company's goal, Gerb estimated that Samsung would need about 15 percent of the market, selling approximately 1.9 million units in 2005. Samsung had a 3.4 percent share last year and is aiming for a 6.8 percent slice in 2003.
According to Gerb, Samsung's strategy involves segmenting products into three main distribution channels: photo specialty, consumer electronics and mass merchants.
For instance, photo specialty dealers will be the exclusive retailers for Samsung's Digimax V3 and V4 – top of the line 3- and 4-megapixel models with Schneider Optics and estimated street prices of $329.99 and $449.99, respectively.
CE dealers get a slightly scaled-down version of the V3 and V4 (with no Schneider Optics) in the V3500 and the V4500, which will carry street prices approximately $20 lower. Mass merchants get value-priced cameras like the DM101 ($119.99 estimated street).
Samsung will also keep prices down across the board. Whereas other top-vendors such as Canon, Olympus and Sony have models above the $500 mark, Samsung will follow Kodak and HP and keep the lid on camera pricing at $500 with its current crop of units.
Gerb admits that Samsung experienced a few "growing pains" in its entry into a new market. Last year, the company was forced to say no to some major retailers for lack of product.
"Frankly, we didn't anticipate the demand, but this year, we're ready."
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