By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
TWICE: The camera market has bucked expectations of a decline for several years now. Do you believe we'll see more growth in 2007? In 2008? If so, what will drive this growth?
Lee: Well, at Nikon we certainly anticipate growth this year. For us, we see the biggest driver would be in the d-SLR category. It continues to show some robust growth and so we really think that the consumers are going to continue to be interested in that category, especially as we start to come out with more approachable, easier-to-use d-SLR cameras.
Cordova: I agree with David. I think as the d-SLR [starts to approach] the price of point-and-shoots, your second- and third-time consumers are definitely going to jump to a d-SLR.
Lubell: I would also agree with previous comments. I also think that, besides SLR, there is still opportunity in point and shoot. I think we, as an industry, have added some features like face detection but also lifestyle plays, regarding how people capture their images and share them [that will help growth].
Pepple: We definitely see that there will still be growth in the point-and-shoot category. Obviously, there's going to be a lot driven from the new consumer d-SLR category. But we think that in the consumer point-and-shoot category that these new features of face detection, wireless IR technology will drive growth — it's not just a megapixel competition anymore. And so there are some new features that really resound with many consumers that make sense to them. It's easy to understand now.
Magee: We agree [market growth] will be driven by the second and third timers. But we also see new opportunity in emerging markets where cameras haven't been bought, and we're going to put efforts towards growing into those — and then, the cameras also being a fashion statement, with colors coming on. Cameras are being bought for occasions. The gift thing is big. I never thought I'd see a red camera being as popular as it's been. That innovation, though simple, has been a big mover and changer in the industry in the way we bring cameras to market.
Maciag: We definitely think that the d-SLR market is very exciting and has a large potential for growth this year. But again, we still see strong potential for point-and-shoots. We think it's going to be a very solid Christmas, and we think you're going to see a lot of fashion statements and a lot of technology players. We'll have … segmented markets with special technologies, like underwater cameras. So, we expect a lot of growth this year.
TWICE: Well, Ross, you're the numbers guy. Keep them honest.
Rubin: I think the cause for concern is that both Mother's Day and Father's Day were a bit softer this year. We saw flat revenue around Mother's Day and flat units at Father's Day. Particularly in the point-and-shoot segment. That's something that I think we'll need to be on the watch for this holiday season.
TWICE: How about '08? Are you confident that '08 will be a growth year for the camera?
Rubin: Certainly the d-SLR segment, there's a lot of room to grow there. We're still seeing strong price bands in the $700 to $799 and $800 to $899. So, as these cameras become simpler and more mainstream, I think there's some great opportunity there.
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.