An Imaging Biz Snapshot

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This is the third consecutive issue of TWICE that features one or more of our lists of top retailers for calendar year 2010.

We started with the granddaddy of all of them, the TWICE Top 100 CE Retailers Report on May 23, followed that with our Top 25 Personal Computer Retailers Report, and in this issue we have the venerable Top 100 Major Appliance Retailers Report and — a new kid on the block — the TWICE Top 25 Digicam & Camcorder Retailers Report.

When we came up with the idea a while ago for a camera retail list, it seemed like a natural. In the days leading up to the deadline for our first Top 25 for this category, I finally said to myself, “What took us so long?”

After all, still cameras have been a staple of many retailers long before digital cameras arrived on the scene. In fact, when I joined TWICE in the early 1990s, we had a quarterly report on cameras, which were then film cameras.

CE retailers were drawn to cameras because margins were good and you could sell profitable accessories along with them. That’s what the late Irwin Diamond, founder of Sima Products, urged me to report to retailers when he first took his company to Winter CES more than 20 years ago.

It took a while, but CE retailers got the accessories message, and Sima, still going strong today, diversified into several CE accessories categories.

Twenty years ago the camera business was dominated by specialty retailers (sound familiar?), with upstart CE retailers and mass merchants gradually getting into the mix.

Of course, all that has changed now. As you can see by our inaugural effort, the top five U.S. retailers are (starting with No. 1): Best Buy,

, Walmart, Costco and RadioShack. B&H and Ritz Camera are in the top 10, but the market is far different today.

CE retailers — and CE manufacturers — were able to become mainstays in the camera (and camcorder) markets as technology turned digital and pointand- shoot cameras created a decade’s worth of growth.

As executive editor Greg Tarr points out in his analysis of the list, smartphones with digital cameras have undercut point-and-shoots. But the market remains a relatively healthy one as the industry is turning to more fully featured products for growth.

As I mentioned, this is the third consecutive issue of TWICE Top Retailer lists. If you missed an issue or need digital copies, go to

to find out how to order one or all of these four reports.

I would be remiss if I did not thank senior editor Alan Wolf, who was the point person on the two biggest lists, the Top 100 CE and Top 100 Major Appliance projects, senior editor Doug Olenick who handled the Top 25 PC list, the aforementioned Mr. Tarr for his work on the Top 25 Digicam & Camorder list, and managing editor John Laposky who headed design and copy editing of all four projects.

And a big thank you for our research partner for these four projects, Bob Tancula and his team at The Stevenson Company for their great work.


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