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Digital Cameras Fade From Office Store Landscape

SAN DIEGO – A recent Gap Intelligence imaging shelf-share analysis of the office super store (OSS) channel shows slim pickings for digital cameras, with little indication that a turnaround is on the horizon.

Scott Peterson, camera industry analyst, said in Gap’s “Decline of Digital Cameras in the OSS Channel” that cameras have exhibited a gradual evaporation for the OSS channel since 2010 and now exhibit virtually no remaining brand diversity.

“Cameras are no longer a priority for OSS retailers, and have historically had low sell rates,” he said. “Staples’ new planogram removes digital cameras from in-store in favor of boosting ‘connected home’ and `wearables’ presence.”

A large reason for the demise is the fact that the channel historically has handled primarily low-priced novice-targeted SKUs, which have diminished in demand due to the popularity of smartphones.

At the same time, Office Depot and OfficeMax merged planograms and feature the same sales cards for cameras vs. having any form of interactive display, he said.

“Canon was retained as one of the lone camera brands likely as a result of its other product categories being present at Office Depot and OfficeMax, while Nikon did not seem to want to deal with the merging entity,” he added.

Although Canon is in place to be the “end-to-end” solution for OSS shoppers, from capture to print, it has thus far not capitalized on its position with any in-store marketing, Peterson reports.

“Instead, the camera aisle remains off-the-beaten path and a neglected part of the store as it bleeps along on life-support.”

Peterson said Kodak’s withdrawal from the market greatly affected the OSS channel, and led to Sony and later Olympus removing cameras in 2012.

Similarly, Nikon’s presence evaporated by the summer of 2014.

Only Canon, with a broad range of imaging and office products, remains with digital cameras in Office Depot and OfficeMax (non-blister-packed), Peterson said.

“Digital camera placements in the OSS channel declined 80 percent since 2010,” said Peterson. “Historically, the OSS channel featured around 100 camera placements each month, now that’s down to only around 20.”

Since 2010, the channel has shown an average 16 percent decline in each Q4 advertising count with no digital cameras advertised in the OSS channel during Q3 2014.