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Interchangeables now over half the market

The Photo category in GfK’s Temax quarterly report on Australian Technical Consumer Goods (TCG) was down a thumping 30 percent in the final quarter of 2014 compared to final quarter 2013, with the overall decline from 2013 to 2014 at 23.5 percent.

However, much of the fall in sales was at the low end of the compact market, according to GfK senior account manager, Min-Woo Jeong.

There were actually categories which grew within GfK’s photo category, which includes cameras, lenses and printers.

Superzooms, which GfK categorises as 21x and above, were flat in volume terms but grew in value, as the camera companies release cameras of absolutely telescopic optical reach.

Other compact categories which have experienced ‘softer declines’ are premium compacts and outdoor cameras, such as the Olympus Tough range.

In the interchangeable lens segment, mirrorless interchangeables actually showed growth in 2014, and now account for 27 percent of the overall interchangeable lens category. DSLRs, said Min-Woo, were ‘slightly down’.

Lenses are more or less line-ball with 2013 in value terms.

The other positive aspect of the GfK figures is that average selling prices are up across the board, with compacts increasing 12 percent – understandable in the context of a fast-disappearing low-end compact market. Overall, however, ASPs increased 16 percent, indicating that retailers are increasing the selling price of the interchangeable models they sell by even more.

In value terms interchangeable lens cameras now account for 55 percent of the camera market, up from 50 percent in 2013.

Overall, the Technical Consumer Goods market experienced a modest decline in Q4, at -1.5 percent compared to Q4, 2013. Looking at the full-year results, the $17.5 billion dollar market recorded a decline of 0.8 percent on the previous year, reflecting a stabilisation, following steeper declines of 2.3 percent in 2013, and 6.2 percent in 2012.

Smartphones – which have effectively taken the place of the low-end snapshooter camera and thus have a potential impact on photo retailing via print services, were well up on 2013.

‘Photo-friendly’ large screen smartphones were particularly successful. Phones with a screen size of 5 inches or larger nearly doubled in Q4, accounting for 34 percent of total smartphone sales, up from 19 percent during the same quarter of the previous year.

Tablets, on the other hand, were down, with the first ever year-on-year value decline for the category.

To access the full report, click here.

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