I though this was an interesting story about future market direction. Since most if not ALL of the “new” clientbase will be new to photography, does that mean that Canon is going to concentrate on the low-end and P&S cameras from here on.
Canon Says China May Become Top Camera Market in 2015
March 09, 2010, 11:18 PM EST
By Mariko Yasu and Maki Shiraki
March 10 (Bloomberg) -- Canon Inc. expects China’s camera market to become the world’s largest as early as 2015, overtaking the U.S., its head of the business said.
Canon, the world’s biggest camera maker, is doubling the number of outlets and boosting its marketing workforce in the Asian nation to tap the company’s fastest-growing major market, Masaya Maeda, said in an interview yesterday in Tokyo. “The China market is very vibrant and will likely drive worldwide growth in the coming years,” he said.
The maker of the EOS and PowerShot models forecasts sales volume will rise 10 percent in China this year, while growth in developed nations will likely remain small, Maeda said without elaborating. Canon’s global camera sales will increase 6.6 percent to 25.7 million units in the 12 months ending Dec. 31, the company projected in January. China accounted for about 15 percent of Canon’s camera sales in 2009, he said.
“China is going to be a big opportunity for Canon as affluent people there favor Japanese products as status symbols,” said Tetsuya Wadaki, a Tokyo-based analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc. Suppliers including Nikon Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. are also looking to expand there and competition will likely intensify, he said.
The U.S. is projected to be the largest camera market this year with 34.6 million units estimated to ship, according to researcher IDC. That’s 27 percent higher than the 27.3 million sets forecast to be delivered to countries in the Asia Pacific region including China, India, Hong Kong and Australia, IDC said in September. Shipments in Western Europe will probably be 28.5 million units in 2010, according to the researcher.
Asia Camera Shipments
The value of digital camera exports in Asia excluding Japan more than doubled to 30.1 billion yen ($334 million) in January from a year earlier, overtaking Europe and North America to become the world’s biggest market, according to the Camera & Imaging Products Association, which tracks data for 14 camera makers. Worldwide shipments rose 59 percent, the Tokyo-based industry group said.
Canon rose 0.9 percent to 4,000 yen as of 1:07 p.m. in Tokyo trading, extending its gain this year to 2.2 percent. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 0.1 percent.
Canon was the market leader in China with a 28 percent share in 2008, while Sony Corp. ranked second and Samsung Electronics third, Beijing-based researcher CCID Consulting Co. said March 19 last year. Camera shipments to China will probably increase to about 12 million units in 2011 from 9.2 million in 2008, CCID said at the time.
Canon boosted the number of employees at its Beijing-based marketing unit by 10 percent to 1,421 last year, Maeda said. The company plans to almost double the number of its servicing outlets in the country to 25 by the end of this year, he said.
“China will probably match the size of the U.S. and Europe in five to six years” after maintaining an annual growth rate of about 10 percent, Maeda said.
The average selling price of cameras will likely drop further this year by “several percentage points,” Maeda said. “We still have room to cut our expenses” to cope with the declining prices, he said.
The company, which posted its lowest profit in a decade last year, is forecasting net income will rise 52 percent to 200 billion yen in 2010 as the global economic recovery revives demand for cameras and office equipment.