Top 25 Camera Retailers See 6.5% Gain



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 service.

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


. 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


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.


, 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.


tallied a 2 percent bump in its hardware imaging business on sales of $176 million.


, 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.


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.


, 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 models.

One of the mainstays of TV retailing,


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



, 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,


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.


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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