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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

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

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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