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‘Photo’ sales dollars 20 percent down: GfK

GfK’s latest quarterly Temax report on technical consumer goods sales sees spending on what it calls the Photo sector – cameras, camcorders, lenses and printers – plummeting by 20 percent when compared to the second quarter of 2012.

When the first half of 2012 is compared with the first half of 2013, the fall in sales is 15 percent in dollar terms.

However, hidden within the grim top-line figures are some positive trends. According to GfK analyst Min-Woo Jeong, mirrorless interchangeable sales are growing in a growing market for both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. That is, the interchangeable lens pie is growing and the mirrorless share of that bigger pie is also growing.

Full frame DSLRs are another sub-segment he identified as continuing to grow, and in the compact camera segment, superzooms and upmarket compacts with manual controls such as the Lumix LX continue to sell well.

‘Low end compacts are the main driver of decline,’ said Min-Woo Jeong. ‘Not everything is declining. There are segments which are still growing and performing well.’

GfK does not measure online sales, and has less engagement with photo specialists than the CE channel, so its sales figures are likely to be biased towards measuring those segments which are more popular in mass merchants and CE stores, and less popular from photo specialists and online retailers (ie, cheap, low-margin compacts.) .

Overall, the second quarter Temax report shows a continued decline, with a year-on-year trend of -2.8 percent. The last recorded growth trend was experienced back in quarter 4, 2011.

A resurgence in the value of the Telecom sector (+10 percent) was not sufficient to compensate for the rapid decline for IT (-12 percent). Major Domestic Appliances continued to experience modest growth (2 percent), while a mild start to the winter negatively affected Small Domestic Appliances (-2 percent). The rate of decline of the Consumer Electronics sector, while significant, continued to slow (-10 percent).

GfK notes that the falling value of the IT industry is likely to continue and will be difficult to compensate for. Sales of domestic appliances, however, are expected to remain buoyant, and the recovery of the consumer electronics segment will assist in keeping the TCG industry on an even keel. It is silent on the immediate future of the Photo sector.

GfK managing director Gary Lamb may have something to add on the trends in camera sales at his session during the PMA Convention, Thursday, September 12.


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