Hybrid products not a threat to traditional camera market, claims insider

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Consumers are looking for quality outcomes from their imaging products, meaning the various camera categories will continue to grow as new technology is released, according to Canon general manager – consumer product marketing, Darren Ryan.

Less than a week after Sanyo released a new series of its popular Xacti HD video camera/still images hybrids, Ryan said Canon’s wasn’t expecting a move to hybrid technology at the expense of the traditional camera products.

“When we’re looking at usage patterns of consumers, they are still tending to use a variety of different formats to take imaging, so we don’t necessarily see convergence and that type of thing as being a particularly big issue,” Ryan said.

“[Consumers] seem to use different products for different occasions. We think that high-end quality outcomes are something that consumers will continue to strive for and that’s why we think that the category will remain robust.”

GfK recently named Canon the number one supplier by units in the total photography category. According to the results for 2009, Canon also has a 30 per cent value share. In the digital compact sub-category, Canon has 23 per cent of value and 17 per cent of volume in the market.

Ryan attributed this success to a combination of effective marketing, outcome-based strategies and Canon’s commitment to technology improvement.

“Our approach around niche-based marketing is really important, so understanding how photography works in the consumer’s life is really a key focus for us,” he said.

“[This approach] broadens it out [so it’s more] than just product: it’s ‘How do we help them use their products to get more satisfaction when the outcome is really important,’ and, ‘How do we educate them on all the different facets of photography?’

“On top of that, obviously we spend an inordinate amount of money on research and development and bringing out products that improve the quality, the outcome, and the ease of use of the products.”

Ryan said that whilst Japan sets volume share targets for Canon’s Australian operations, in order to keep the brand on top, he targets higher percentages for the region.

“We look at what all the competitors are doing and then we look at what our offer is and we work to hit our own financial targets and our own market share targets,” he said.

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