In a bold marketing move just prior to the pre-Christmas season, Canon Australia has announced it is offering a new five-year standard manufacturer warranty for products in its mirrorless, DSLR, video camera and lens product ranges.
This has the potential to inject some extra spice into the camera market as competitors will not have sufficient tine to respond with their own extended standard warranty periods before Christmas – even if they wanted to. Extended warranties, including Canon’s own Canon Care Pack range (now redundant), cost approximately 10 percent of the purchase price of a camera or lens and protected consumers for just 3 years. To compete with Canon products, which are effectively now being offered with ‘free’ extended warranties, other camera and lens manufacturers will need to quickly devise plans to support their products with added price or promotional support.
It will also add to the appeal of Australia-bought Canon cameras compared to those purchased from grey marketers, either in Australia or offshore. It would appear from the text of the press release that Canon is particularly concerned about grey market sales.
The move also reflects the reality that, in the eyes of the ACCC, the Australian Consumer Law changes in 2011 render a standard one-year manufacturers’ warranty no longer sufficient for high value consumer goods. In Australia, a purchaser has the right to compensation if their camera expires 12 months or more after purchase, regardless of the length of the manufacturers’ warranty. The Canon warranty page states: Our goods come with guarantee that cannot be excluded under the Australian Consumer Law. You are entitled to a replacement or refund for a major failure and for compensation for any other reasonably foreseeable loss or damage. You are also entitled to have the goods repaired or replaced if the goods fail to be of acceptable quality and the failure does not amount to a major failure.
Canon’s radical move is well-supported by data. Canon Australia commissioned YouGov Galaxy Research to conduct a ‘Consumer Warranty Expectations Survey’, which found Australian adult consumers link the length of a manufacturer warranty to brand trust, good value, and product quality. Almost nine in ten (87 percent) of Australian respondents agree that a longer manufacturer warranty (more than 2 years) means a higher product quality. Eighty-seven per cent also agree that a longer manufacturer warranty gives them certainty that what they buy is good value.
The research reveals Australian consumers consider brands that offer manufacturer warranty periods longer than competitors more trustworthy (87 percent). Furthermore, most Australian respondents (89 percent) consider longer than average manufacturer warranty periods proof that a brand is confident in the quality of its products.
According to its press release, Canon Australia believes it is possible that Australian consumer habits are being shaped by the rise of what it calls ‘transient goods’: a perception that has conditioned consumers into believing that technology is outdating so fast, hardware only needs to last one or two years until the next model is available. In support of this ‘transient goods’ theory, the Consumer Warranty Expectations Survey 2019 reveals most (87 percent) of Australian consumer respondents believe that some consumer technology companies encourage people to update to new models every 1-2 years even though the current product would perform perfectly for several more years.
When investing in a mobile phone priced between $1200-$3000, the research shows the average expected consumer warranty among adult Aussie respondents is 2.4 years. In looking at the current market leaders, six in seven handset brands provide two-year warranties for handsets in this category, coming in just under consumer expectations.
In looking to the digital camera category, for interchangeable lens DSLR or mirrorless devices priced between $1100-$3000, the average expected consumer warranty is 2.5 years. In comparing six major brands in the market, three (Sony, Olympus and Leica) offer limited two-year warranties while Fujifilm, Nikon and Panasonic offer one-year warranties.
Only 11 per cent of the overall population disagreed that a longer manufacturer warranty gives them certainty that what they buy is good value. Among 18-24 years this number almost doubled (20 percent).
According to the survey, Australian consumers have modest expectations of their consumer electronics purchases: they don’t expect warranties to extend past three years, even for products costing on average $3500, including TVs and refrigerators. (However this is contradicted by a 2018 Choice survey, in which consumers had far higher expectations.)
‘At the end of the day, every brand should be providing products that offer the most value and the best possible experience to its consumers,’ said Canon’s Jason McLean. ‘If Aussie consumer electronic brands are confident in the quality of their higher-end products, why wouldn’t they follow our lead in backing it with an appropriate manufacturer warranty?’
Over 57 percent of millennials and 40 percent of the general population agreeing they spend money more impulsively at key sales times to bag a bargain, Canon ‘is urging consumers to look beyond a product’s price and consider the brand’s Australian manufacturer warranty as a signal that it is confident in the quality of the product.’
‘When purchasing a product online during the sales, confirm that the product you’re buying is supported by a genuine Australian manufacturer warranty to give you peace of mind that you’re covered should the product have a defect,’ says Jason McLean.
For more information on Canon Australia’s five-year warranty, visit www.canon.com.au/warranty