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Concord Looks To Regain Traction In Digicam Market

Hollywood, Fla.  — Camera maker Concord will look to regain momentum in the digital camera market this year with a new line of digital cameras, branded in-camera technology and a continued strategy of aggressive pricing.

The company, which is focused on the ultra-competitive entry-level segment of the digital camera market, took a $13 million loss for the quarter, ended Jan. 1, on sales of $54.3 million. According to research firm IDC, Concord captured 1.6 percent of the digital camera market in 2004.

“It’s mind numbing how competitive the market is,” said Jeff Mandell, marketing VP, Concord. While acknowledging the Concord has been among the forefront in aggressive pricing, Mandell said Concord was not the culprit behind plummeting ASPs, which have dropped close to 20 percent year-over-year “with no sign of slowing down.”

“We’re a participant in this market — we’re not driving it,” he said. “We’re competing against some companies that are 100 years old. We need something to differentiate ourselves.”

To that end, Concord debuted a new line of cameras at PMA called Easyshot, which offer larger LCD screens and a one-touch “ImageEnhance” button for improving the look of digital images in-camera.

The new line was the result of intense consumer research as to what features consumers were willing to pay for and what they were willing to forego, Mandell said. “When it came down to paying more for an optical zoom, many consumers will opt for the digital zoom,” he said. Size was another trade-off, Mandell said, with consumers willing to accept slightly bulkier cameras in return for lower price points. Rechargeable batteries were also subordinate to lower prices in Concord’s research.

As camera phones edge up in resolutions and stand-alone digital cameras edge down in price, Mendell does not believe the former will devour the later. “Our hypothesis is that camera phones will bring more people into digital photography. Long term, it may threaten the entry level, but our technology gets better too.”