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Repeat Buyers To Buoy Cooling Market

TWICE:We’re seeing projections that the growth will cool, if not this year, than the following year. What will the impact be?

Eliott Peck, Canon: One thing that’s becoming very evident is what I’ll call a leveling off. We’re not going to see the 30, 40 and 50 percent growth that we’ve seen before. One significant difference we are seeing this year is the household penetration is approaching over 60 percent. And with that we’re seeing more second- and third-time buyers. They’re becoming a little more aware of what the technologies are. They’re savvy — they do a little more research. We see this as a good thing because with these new technologies there is more interest in the products and I think it’s good for the retailers to now step people to second- and third-generation products.

Nancy Carr, Kodak: I also think that as we are increasing our household penetration, more females are buying and using digital cameras. And she is a much more proactive sharer. She wants to do more with her pictures. The retailers that will do well this year at the holiday season will be selling more than just digital cameras to her. They’ll be selling the accessories to her so that she can print at home, so she can do gifting, so that she can have online services. Anyone helping her with the entire solution will be profitable.

Gael Lundeen, Fujifilm: We see that the race in megapixels, LCD sizes and zoom [is changing]. Consumers are worried about some other issues. Shutter lag, blur and low-light conditions, for instance. There are a lot of efforts to differentiate and we have a lot of unmet consumer needs. So the more we’re able to focus on those I think we’re going to bring meaningful value to the consumer, so that as the market does level off there is a lot of health in the market for the follow-on and after-market products including, by the way, printing.

Mark Hoffman, Olympus: Obviously as consumers are starting to become savvy, the second-time users are looking for better cameras. They’re stepping up to digital SLRs, and we’ll see the growth in that market continue as we saw within film cameras years ago.

David Lee, Nikon: I would agree with Eliott. We see it not as a cooling but as a continued growing of the marketplace but at a little slower pace. We see great opportunity in the d-SLR market as well as the second- and third-time purchaser.

Richard Campbell, Panasonic: I think one of the things that retailers are going to be looking for to differentiate themselves is solutions, and how they tell that solution story. Certainly when it comes to digital imaging, taking that picture is paramount, it’s the first in the process. But what’s the next step? What do I do with the picture — whether it may be printing, viewing you images, sharing your images, etc. — and I think you’re going to start to see a differentiation among retailers who are able to tell that story and that will help them certainly as they go into the holiday season.