1. It's Your People . . . Really!
They ensure their people are productive, efficient and effective. Today we can't have friends, relatives, or long-term "good old boys" on the payroll if they aren't producing. Successful retailers measure the effectiveness of each employee and match pay to productivity. They replace the non-productive with someone who will maximize return in that position.
2. Lifelong learning is a habit, not a slogan
Winning retailers "learn, unlearn, and relearn" what it takes to succeed. They read industry publications, attend events, listen to everyone, and constantly question what's changed since their last decision. We no longer live in a 4x6 world. Leaders embrace and leverage this change, while those with financial frustrations wait for D&P to return and save them. Unfortunately, their wait often proves terminal.
3. Leverage every opportunity
Successful operators leverage their advertising, community promotions, locations, and their buying power. While the number of photo specialty stores decreases, the size and volume of the industry buying groups increases. This confirms there is power in numbers. Large retailers, who once thought they could do better on their own, find huge benefits in joining with others to leverage their potential.
Sure, today's retail world is challenging. Headlines scream only negative news. Instead of wringing their hands, effective business owners look at the myriad opportunities surrounding them—then turn those opportunities into solid, positive cash flow gains.
The future really is yours. Capture it!
Bill McCurry's latest book — "It's Your People...Really!" is available from PMA. In it he details how successful imaging firms are accomplishing #1 and #2 above. An accompanying audio CD presents industry leaders sharing their strategies for accomplishing profitable growth through team effort. — Editor
The DSLR Market Is Burgeoning
Machiko Ouchi, Executive Director, JPEA International
Shipments of digital still cameras (DSC) to the world's market topped those of film cameras by Japanese camera manufacturers in 2002 and growth continued at a double-digit rate up until 2004 as follows: (million units/% year-on-year growth): In 2002, 24.551 (+66.4%), in 2003, 43.408 (+76.8%) and in 2004, 59.766 (+37.7%). In the half-year term, 2005, however, figures came to standstill with 27.938 million units, a 5.5% year-on-year gain. The DSC market has grown rapidly and came to a plateau at a much faster pace than expected. Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) of Japan revised earlier projections of '06 shipments from 20.8% gain, down to 8.4%.
However, the total market of DSCs in 2004 was 1.6x larger than the peak of film cameras, of 37 million units in 1997. When people say camera, it now means a digital camera. Popularity has come along with a fall of retail prices, which caused serious trouble for manufacturers as profitability deteriorated. A solution may be found in digital SLRs which offer higher margins and create accessory markets.
In parallel with rapid growth of point-and-shoot DSCs, DSLRs began to emerge with Canon's introduction of the affordable EOS Rebel D in the fall of 2003 at around $1,270 with a standard zoom lens. Canon launched quantity production at a monthly pace of 70K units. This model of digital camera made the DSLR affordable to hobbyists as well as pros, thus far the main customers for such models. Nikon followed suit with its popular D70 in March 2004 at around $1,450 with a standard zoom, with a production rate at the same level as the Canon Rebel D. CIPA began tabulating DSLR figures from 2003, when its shipments to the world came to 845K units. In the following year, shipments nearly tripled to 2.476 million units and in the first half of 2005, they rose 60.4% over the same period, a year ago, to 1.67 million units, taking 5.9% of the aggregate shipments. DSLR ratio in number, over the total DSC sales at home, was 4.4% in 2004, which rose to 7.3% in the first half of 2005.
When film camera sales stabilized in the latter half of the 1990s at around 30 million units, SLRs took some 11% of total shipments, so industry observers reasonably expect digital SLRs will also take a 10% share of total shipments. Nikon anticipates the global DSLR market in 2005 will come to 4-4.5 million units, while Canon is a little conservative at 3.5 million units, with an aggressive aim to take a 51.4% share of the global market.
The solid DSLR market helps create a healthy accessory market. Interchangeable lens sales in the first half of 2005 rose 27% year-on-year to 3.05 million units.
According to Interscope, a market research company in Japan, which conducted an Internet survey in July 2005, SLR ownership was 6%, of which males accounted for 75% and women 25%. In age groups, those in their 40s and 50s took a majority of 60%. Some 65% had bought their camera during the last 12 months; and 20% owned their gear for two years. Some 45% of respondents replaced or purchased, adding-on to compact digicams within the past six months, and the majority of those cameras was taken by people in their 20s-30s. On the other hand, converts (including add-on) from film SLRs were mostly by those who are in the 40s-50s age range.
As there is more room for further growth for DSLRs, which are more lucrative than compacts, more players are entering into the field: Pentax with its *ist series, Konica Minolta with its prestigious Maxxum brand name and Olympus with the new Four-Thirds format cameras. Sony and Panasonic voiced their intention of entry into the DSLR market by joining hands with Konica Minolta and Olympus, respectively. The DSLR market presents a great hope for the camera industry, for both manufacturers and retailers.
Consumer Digital Education Is Industry Responsibility
Lisa Walker, President, I3A
The message I send to the imaging industry, every chance I get, is: we must educate consumers on digital image management, organizing, and archiving.
Our relationships with customers are built on trust—trust that their cameras will work, that they'll get their prints back on time, and that they'll be able to show their children and grandchildren the moments they captured in pictures. Digital imaging hasn't altered the trust factor, but the technological obstacles to digital memory-keeping—lurking under the surface of consumer understanding—could drastically change this relationship.