HindustanTimes Fri,31 Oct 2014

Camera cos face heat from phones

Himani Chandna Gurtoo, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 05, 2013
First Published: 22:28 IST(5/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:45 IST(6/3/2013)

With cameras losing out to smartphones as consumers shift preferences, camera makers are in a muddle and plan to lower prices in order to increase sales.

As social networking and uploads to sites such as Facebook and Flickr catch on, amateur photographers are increasingly switching to smartphones that offer increasingly better cameras with the added facility of instant uploads to the Net.

Camera makers are now struggling to be part of the race with the launch of some web-compatible models and price cuts.

According to the Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT), camera prices are expected to fall by 10% in the next six months on account of weak consumer sentiment.

“Due to the fickle demand, companies are expected to lower prices by 10%,” said Alok Bharadwaj, president, MAIT.

Last year, camera makers lowered their growth targets as they saw the slowest demand creation in the last six years.

For Instance, the Indian unit of Japan’s Nikon lowered its turnover projection for 2012-13 by 8.3% to Rs.1,100 crore from an earlier estimate of Rs.1,200 crore.

“Demand creation is still erratic. To fight this, we’ll play our possible best and lower prices,” said a senior official from Nikon India who did not wish to be identified.

“Pricing will be one very important marketing tool that companies, including us, will leverage leading to discounts and attractive price points,” said Bharadwaj, who is also executive vice-president of Canon India.

The three biggest players in the Indian camera market are all Japanese — Sony (34% market share by volume), Nikon (25%) and Canon (14%). Other brands include Fuji and Samsung.

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