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Gap Intelligence: Black Friday Camera Activity May Be Diluted

SAN DIEGO – The continued strain on the entry and mid-level sectors of the digital camera market, along with a significantly extended holiday promotional period, will likely impact camera sales during the traditional Black Friday period this year, a new digital camera shelf-share report from Gap Intelligence revealed.

Scott Peterson, Gap Intelligence digital imaging products analyst, said early deals and even earlier store openings will likely “dilute the importance of Black Friday as a singular event.”

Instead, Peterson expects retailers will be more aggressive in leveraging loyalty tactics to spur repeat visits and secure sales from shoppers that are now faced with a greater ease of crosschannel shopping.

Black Friday digital camera advertising took a big downturn in 2012, with a 40 percent on-year reduction, while 2013’s ad total saw a slight on-year rise of 4 percent.

“Black Friday 2014 digital camera advertising is not expected to show any improvement over last year,” he said, noting that the category’s advertising has spiraled downward each quarter of this year (first quarter 2014, down 46 percent year over year; second quarter 2014, down 55 percent year over year; third quarter 2014, down 56 percent year over year). “2013’s Q4 camera advertising was down 20 percent onyear, which ranked as the largest quarterly year-over-year decrease within that year, despite a slightly stronger Black Friday result,” Peterson said.

With 994 cameras placed in the retail channel for Black Friday 2011, 162 ads were produced.

For Black Friday 2012, there were 16 percent fewer placements in the channel at 834, while ads decreased a sharp 40 percent to a total of just 98, Gap found.

In 2013, the 696 placements on the shelf for Black Friday continued to exhibit a steady 16 percent decrease year over year, while the holiday’s ad count showed a slight 4 percent rebound to reach 102 ads.

“This year, the decline of camera placements in retail has slowed to just 6 percent with 653 placements on the shelf, but considering again the current advertising habits of retailers, digital cameras will be challenged to reach a triple digit total for Black Friday 2014,” Peterson said.

The types of cameras promoted during Black Friday have also undergone a shift over the past three years, as the appeal of advertising ultra-compacts continues to decrease, Peterson observed.

“This provides a real opportunity for bridge camera and [interchangeablelens camera] ILC ads to increase even more; however, an influx of advanced camera advertising would contrast the historical perception of Black Friday as an event to offload low-end gear at eyecatching prices, which may ultimately grow awareness of the technology offered within today’s camera market beyond point-and-shoot,” he said.

Mega-zoom bridge cameras’ share of Black Friday advertising has steadily increased each year, representing 13 percent, 14 percent and 18 percent shares for 2011, 2012 and 2013, respectively.

This presence in each of the years’ Black Friday ads roughly mirrored the segment’s retail shelf share during those periods, and with bridge cameras commanding a 19 percent share of today’s shelf, Gap Intelligence expects around 20 percent to 30 percent of Black Friday 2014 ads to be mega-zoom models.

This sets up Kodak for a visible share of the Black Friday 2014 action as its affordable, yet capable, AstroZoom series is a tremendous force at mass-merchant Kmart, an active holiday advertiser.

Nikon will also have a very prominent spot within Black Friday 2014, as it again brings an exclusive bridge SKU to Target’s shelf in the form of the $229 Coolpix L330.

Industry heavyweights Canon and Nikon have also been caught expanding their bridge portfolios this year, which has translated to additional SKUs in the channel that yield a high potential for widespread promotions at both electronics and mass-merchant chains.

ILC share of Black Friday advertising has steadily increased each year, representing 23 percent, 25 percent and 26 percent shares for 2011, 2012 and 2013, respectively (SLR and mirrorless combined).

While these shares have always been slightly above the retail presence of ILC models during the fall season — SLR and mirrorless compacts today hold a combined share of 30 percent — Black Friday 2014 advertising may feasibly be comprised of around 35 percent to 40 percent ILC models.

Peterson said a key to the forecasted increase is the current availability of dual- lens bundles across the retail channel, specifically Canon’s Rebel T5 and T5i and Nikon’s D 3200.

Sony may also stand out by providing one of the only mirrorless camera bundles expected to be advertised for Black Friday, a dual-lens kit for its A3000 on the shelf of Walmart that will challenge DSLRs as a “sheep in wolf’s clothing” with an aggressive holiday price tag (sub-$400 by year end?). As smartphones now handle the majority of consumers’ picture-taking needs, ILC cameras stand to be more of a premeditated buy for holiday shoppers, and may provide motivation for them to stalk deals on their gear of choice as configurations hit yearly pricing lows, Peterson said.