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Nikon Gaining Market Share

Christopher Chute, research manager, Worldwide Digital Imaging Practice, IDC, says: "According to IDC's tracker, [Nikon's] first-quarter U.S. digital camera unit shipments grew 84% over the previous period a year ago, when its DSLR business grew rapidly but its compact lineup faltered. The firm's 2008 Coolpix introductions feature not just the typical Nikon/Nikkor high-end feature sets, but fashionable colors at a variety of price points. It is obvious that the camera firm is seeking to make stronger inroads into the quickly commodifying compact camera market." Nikon's latest advertising campaign with Ashton Kutcher, the actor and producer of such shows as MTV's Punk'd, aimed at the young and hip, is putting the company on the map. According to IDC, only Canon and Sony are placing television spots with any real regularity, and both of them are choosing much more abstract themes, unlike Nikon with its targeted message.

"As the camera market matures, vendors with true scale will be able to continue to pursue a variety of marketing activities, as opposed to those vendors that can't afford it," Chute says. "We see the firm as being a true contender for a top spot in the longer-term market."


Older Teen Girls More Likely to Have Cellphones

According to a recent study, "The Maturing Wireless Teen Market: 12-17 US Teen Wireless Subscribers, Revenue, ARPU and Content," by MultiMedia Intelligence, older teen girls are more likely to have cellphones than older teen boys. In 2007, 91% of U.S. 17-year-old girls had cellphones, whereas only 78% of U.S. 17-year-old boys had them. MultiMedia Intelligence says there's little difference in handset ownership between the genders at age 13, with 57% of teenagers having cellphones.

"The teen market is an especially appealing market for two reasons," says Frank Dickson, chief research officer with MultiMedia Intelligence. "First, it is a primary source of new subscribers for carriers. Second, teens teach older demographics how to use their handsets. However, the differences in the cellphone consumption patterns among the teen segments are remarkable and need to be noted. Targeting teens at the right age and gender is critical to maximize subscriber gains. Targeting teens at the wrong age and not considering gender will cause operators to miss the boat."

The research firm projects that by 2012, the number of teen subscribers will reach 17 million, a delta of only 1 million subscribers from 2007.


Photographer Type Influences Selection of Digital Camera Brand

According to a new report from InfoTrends entitled "Digital Camera Brand Ownership Trends," the type of photographer a consumer identifies with has significant influence over the brand of the digital camera they choose to purchase. What's more, as the digital camera market has matured, the proportion of family memory-keepers and snapshot photographers has increased, while the number of hobbyists has decreased.

Among family memory-keepers, Kodak has been the top brand since 2004. Although Canon has strengthened its position to close the gap, Kodak reigns as the brand of choice among family memory-keepers.

Hobbyists represent the most attractive segment because these consumers are willing to spend money to upgrade their camera more frequently than family memory -epers or snapshot photographers. Canon has been the leading brand among this group of consumers since 2004.


Wired Baby Boomers Going Digital

According to NPD Group's "Entertain-ment Trends in America" survey, online activities once mainly popular with teens and young adults are now enjoying active participation by baby boomers, too. Recent consumer surveys of U.S. consumers show that 61% of baby boomer Internet users (ages 44 to 61) had visited sites that offer streaming or downloadable video (e.g., YouTube and TV network websites), while 41% had visited social networks (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace).

NPD's "Entertainment Trends in America" tracking study reveals that more than half of all web users (57%) visited a social networking site in the past three months.

According to the NPD Group, the use of email and web surfing was nearly universal among web users surveyed (97%). Online shopping was another prevalent activity among web users of all ages: Eight in 10 web users shopped online sometime during the prior three months. Teens and young adults reported less online shopping activity than older consumers, perhaps owing to the fact that many teens do not have access to credit cards.


Retailers Believe Online Shopping More Resilient Than Other Channels

Despite a struggling economy throughout most of this year, the majority of online retailers continue to be cautiously optimistic about how their businesses will perform during the next 12 months. According to "The State of Retailing Online 2008," the 11th annual study conducted by Forrester Research, 72% of online retailers believe that the online channel is better suited to withstand an economic slowdown than offline channels.

"Internet retailers have good reason for optimism as budget-focused shoppers head to the web for value and convenience," says Scott Silverman, executive director of "Online retailers are well-positioned to make the best of a potentially lean holiday season."

About one-third (35%) of online retailers surveyed said they expect their online business to perform better than expected in the next 12 months, while another third (33%) anticipate their online business will perform the same as expected. This optimistic outlook is driven primarily by past results. According to the report, 81% of online retailers surveyed reported that their ecommerce business was profitable in 2007, and 75% were also more profitable last year than in 2006. Almost half (49%) of online retailers said that their average conversion rate in 2007 was higher than in 2006, and that 36% of total sales for the online retailers were driven by repeat customers--higher than in 2006.

Sucharita Mulpuru, Forrester Research principal analyst and lead author of the report, says, "Given that the web appears to be a preferred channel for many consumers during an economic downturn, retailers would be well served to provide offers that motivate customers to buy, and to encourage the online channel to drive sales in a channel-agnostic manner in order to provide benefits to the entire business."