Brits focus on camera add-ons

High-street retailers will respond to a slowdown in the sale of digital cameras by turning their attentions to the buoyant market of accessories, including lenses, bags and tripods.

Already the switch of focus has begun - as the value of the accessories market leapt by more than a third last year, on the back of consumer demand from Western Europe and the USA.

At the same time, vendors in these regions bemoaned mediocre growth in the sales of digital cameras, according to a new report by analysts at Understanding & Solutions.

The firm predicts the market for digital cameras will actually decline by two percent by the end of 2007, challenging the business model of vendors and retailers alike.

But shrewd businesses will simply change tact to target the accessories market, so, in actual fact, their “future profits will be bolstered,” says David Watkins of Understanding & Solutions.

Nowhere will this be more evident than in Western Europe, where the accessories market – at its peak – will be worth more than that for the whole of America, the firm predicted.

“We expect the market to peak in 2008 in the USA a €800 (£543m) and 2009 in Western Europe a €1.1(£746m),” Mr Watkins said.

The lens market was predicted as remaining “the most lucrative product segment,” followed by that of camera bags, which comprises 30% of the entire accessories market.

Based on the American and Western European markets, the report found 90% of high-end accessories, like lenses, flashguns and supports, are sold through photographic specialists, like Jessops.

But the appeal of high margins on some products, particularly camera bags, has prompted others outside the industry to get in on the act.

“Lowepro’s entry level camera bags, for example, are becoming increasingly visible…on internet-only sites such as Amazon,” the report says.

“Mass merchandisers, such as Carrefour and Tesco, are also starting to branch out into the digital-SLR and accessory markets, with camera brands such as Canon, Nikon and Olympus becoming increasingly visible.” Play roulette 34 with

Similar market moves explain why tripods and monopods are no longer reserved for the professional photographer.

Aggressively priced supports, such as those from a retailer’s own brand of products, are creating a wider user base, the analyst reported.

Figures show over 1 million digital camera supports were shipped in Western Europe and the USA last year, representing growth of 52% from 2005.

The analyst said market is expected to expand further over the coming years, peaking at 1.6 million units in the next two years.


21st March 2007

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