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Top 25 Camera Retailers See 6.5% Gain

6/20/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern
NEW YORK – Although the consumer electronics industry is subject to constant change and upheaval, few segments experienced a more pronounced evolutionary change than digital cameras and camcorders in 2010.

Retailers are now faced with competition from smartphones incorporated into digital cameras as never before, eating into the point-and-shoot business that had sustained industry growth for years. This placed more emphasis on selling betterfeatured products, such as d-SLRs.

What a year to launch TWICE’s first annual listing of the Top 25 Digital Camera and Camcorder Retailers.

For our first-ever dealer rankings in the category, The Stevenson Company, TWICE’s retail research partner, counted only the retail dollar volume generated by sales of digital camera and camcorder hardware, minus non-camera-specific integrated devices such as smartphones and cellphones. Accessories, including lenses, flashes, tripods and bags, and photo-finishing services were also omitted.

With that said, Best Buy – the nation’s leading CE retail chain — stood as the leader in retail dollar volume for combined camera and camcorder sales, with almost $2.9 billion. And that was down an estimated 0.2 percent from 2009.

The chain has long carried a wide assortment of cameras and camcorders.

The store augmented its 1,099 retail sales floors with a growing e-commerce service.

But it was online challengers, including the venerable, that gave Best Buy some of its greatest competition in the year. Amazon ranked second on this year’s list, at $1.43 billion in camera and camcorder sales, up a whopping 29.8 percent – the highest growth percentage among all camera retailers in 2010.

Just behind Amazon at $1.4 billion was leading discount store chain Walmart. The Bentonville behemoth saw its digital camera/camcorder business climb 13.2 percent as it continued to heavily promote value-oriented point-and-shoot cameras and even further expanded its mix into better-performing models such as entry and mid-range d-SLRs and mirrorless compact cameras.

Costco Wholesale, No. 4, reaped the rewards of its strong relationship with camera vendors, including Canon, Nikon, Sony and Olympus, to help boost category revenue 9 percent to $637 million. The chain had 421 stores and a strong online presence.

No. 5-ranked RadioShack offers a large assortment of cameras online to augment a tailored selection for its storefronts. The chain’s 4,426 stores saw camera revenue rise 5 percent in the year to $460 million.

Target, at No. 6, was one of few retailers to see sales declines in 2010, with camera revenue slipping 3.3 percent to $349 million.

Operating from a single brick-and-mortar location in New York City, B&H Photo managed to generate $253 million in camera/camcorder sales in 2010, up 4.3 percent from 2009, operating a massive online and catalog retail business.

Ritz Camera opened six additional locations in 2010, but its camera hardware sales were down 3 percent in the year to $184 million.

Sam’s Club, which is the warehouse club sibling of discount store giant Walmart, continued to grow its camera business in 2010 to $182 million, up 5.8 percent from 2009. Business was helped slightly by the opening of four new stores in the year.

Sears tallied a 2 percent bump in its hardware imaging business on sales of $176 million.

Adorama, which is an intra-city rival to seventh-ranked B&H, used a similar selling strategy leveraging the Wweb, catalog and brick-and-mortar location to garner $144 million in camera/camcorder sales, down 2.5 percent from a year earlier, good for 11th place on the photo dealer rankings.

Staples managed to eke out 1.1 percent revenue growth in 2010 at $114 million. Business was undoubtedly helped by the opening of 20 additional stores in the year.

Dell, which suffered sales declines in multiple product sectors in 2010, took one of the hardest hits in camera/camcorder sales of any vendor on the top 25 camera retailers’ list, with a 7 percent decline to $102 million.

Sony Style Retail Stores notched an 8 percent gain in camera and camcorder sales at the locations themselves. Ranking 14th with $102 million in sales, the chain was helped by the launch of new advancements in its d-SLR line, and the premiere of its first NEX mirrorless models.

One of the mainstays of TV retailing, QVC enjoyed a 3.4 percent bump in camera/ camcorder business to rank 15th at an even $100 million as manufacturers leveraged the national stage to promote their products – that’s a lot of operators standing by.

Army-Air Force Exchange has a great audience for cameras, but sales were off 5 percent in 2010 at $98 million, according to TWICE’s estimates for the 160-store chain.

Beach Trading benefitted from a significant online presence to grow its camera/ camcorder business 2.3 percent to $90 million.

Fry’s Electronics, at No. 18, saw a 3.9 percent decline in camera business to $84 million in 2010 as its store count held firm at 34.

J&R Musicworld, No. 3 among camera retailers in the city that never sleeps, was the 19th-ranked camera/camcorder retailer in the nation for 2010, with sales of $79 million, down 3 percent from 2009, according to TWICE estimates.

Office Depot managed to keep camera/ camcorder revenue flat in 2010 at $77 million with 1,125 stores.

Ritz Interactive saw camera business tumble 7.9 percent in 2010 to $72 million, good for No. 21 on the retail scorecard. The company is a network of e-commerce websites, including, and, that is run separately from Ritz Camera & Image.

Home Shopping Network, another TV-commerce retailer, took the 22nd position, at $71 million, as sales nudged up a scant 1.5 percent from 2009.

Despite having 25 fewer stores than a year earlier, Kmart managed to show a better growth performance in cameras than its bigger sister Sears. The discount chain ranked 23rd in the camera/camcorder category, with $69 million in sales.

Cameta Camera, noted as a leading Ebay retail partner, made the list at No. 24 with $64 million in sales of new camera products. The company also does a significant business in used and refurbished merchandise that was not included in the tabulations for dealer rankings.

hhgregg is a rapidly growing A/V electronics chain perhaps best known for its home-theater expertise. But the dealer boosted its camera/camcorder sales an impressive 18.4 percent to to $58 million as its outlets grew by 46 stores to 173.
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