San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
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TWICE: How instrumental has it been in moving features from point-and-shoots into the d-SLR market? Has that driven the step-up market?
Lee: I think you are going to see that not only is there trickle up but there is also trickle down. A lot of the technology — the core technology — the image processing which has been developed for d-SLRs is actually trickling down into the point-and-shoots. Then you have the more obvious features of face detection and live view going up into the d-SLR.
Peck: Our G9 model has been astounding, and it sells at $499 and it is a point-and-shoot. But it incorporates a hot-shoe and RAW mode. I think the user understands those benefits now and is willing to spend $500 on a point-and-shoot model.
Cutting: Do you see the G9 user as being a d-SLR owner as well?
Peck: Absolutely. The person who would have a d-SLR would be attracted to a product like a G9.
Lubell: Our quick auto-focus live view has been a feature that has contributed to some of our successes in d-SLR because consumers are still at the point of looking at a screen vs. a viewfinder, and it is a natural thing for them. It is an easy way to move into that category with some familiar features.
Cutting: That trickle up makes the d-SLR less intimidating to new consumers.
Hunter: If a point-and-shoot feature makes sense why leave it behind? It was by asking ourselves that question that Olympus was first to market a consumer d-SLR with live view, which is a feature that practically defines the point-and-shoot digital camera.
TWICE: Is there a lot of brand loyalty among your customers? Are your point-and-shoot customers sticking to your brand as they step up to a d-SLR?
Lubell: I think intuitively I would say yes, but from our research we found that the consumers are moving from point-and-shoot to d-SLR are doing a lot of research and are open to other manufacturers as they get into that game.
Lee: The numbers would say they're not, because you have basically five main manufacturers in the point-and-shoot business and you have two manufacturers that dominant 80 to 85 percent of the d-SLR business.
Cutting: A different question that we asked recently of consumers who owned a film d-SLR: What percentage stayed with the same brand? Fifty-five percent stayed with. That means 45 percent went elsewhere. It was interesting to see that they were open to making a change after a film SLR.