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First-ever increase in digicam ASPs, says CIPA

We present a report by John Swainston, managing director, Maxwell International on the market symposium jointly presented by CIPA, GfK and NPD at the CP+ event in Yokohama, Japan:

John Swainston, Maxwell International
John Swainston, Maxwell International

At the CIPA symposium on market conditions, held at this year’s CP+ in Yokohama, Takashi Nakao, chair of the CIPA Research & Statistics Working Group, reported on the full year photo industry performance.

The decline in volume of compact cameras was sharper than anticipated by all major manufacturers, especially at the low end. However he noted that two important factors occurred in 2012 for the first time: Average selling prices at export level rose for both interchangeable lens and compact cameras for the first time since records started for digital cameras.

Interchangeable lens cameras are also forecast to rise from just over 20 million units to 22 million in 2013 and lenses to rise 12.5 percent to over 34 million units, following a 14 percent value rise in 2012. One dynamic change noted, however, was the lens ratio continues to fall, as a result of more long zoom lenses being sold with mirrorless cameras.

In a specific note of regional difference, Nakao also commented that Oceania matched the Japanese trend to a very high degree in fast adoption of mirrorless cameras, achieving 32 percent of interchangeable lens shipment values, against Japan at 36 percent, with  Europe and the Americas lagging at just 12 and 13 percent respectively. Once again Australia and New Zealand have confirmed their role as early adopters.

In a presentation by Marion Knoche of GfK Europe, comment was made how important the role of accessories has now become in sustaining retail profitability in the camera industry. Yet many DSLR’s are still not sold with accessory flash guns (4 out of 5), or tripods (2 out of 3). The one shining light was photo bags for interchangeable lens cameras, which in most of Europe are sold effectively 1 to 1 (some being repeat customer sales to existing owners.)

The final shift in buying patterns was also identified by NPD’s Liz Cutting and Takashi Nakao: Women are the fastest growing segment of interchangeable lens sales, both  DSLR and mirrorless, and both influenced by age and by family formation (ie, presence of kids in the family.) Retailers wishing to grow their interchangeables business must lift their offering in this regard, stop using technical language, and refocus on integrated imaging solutions, including print, whether through gifting, photobook or kiosk options, including wireless upload of smartphone images.

Ms Knoche concluded her remarks by reminding the largely Japanese manufacturing industry audience that what the industry was about was ultimately capturing emotion, and enabling shared experiences in a form that only photography can achieve.
– John Swainston, Maxwell International



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