2014 could mark the beginning of the end for the point-and-shoot camera segment, especially in India. The sales of these cameras, the backbone of overall category health, have fallen 50 percent in 2013 and are expected to drop a further 15 to 20 percent in 2014, if reports are to be believed.
The Times of India reports companies such as Canon and Fujifilm are planning to trim their sub-Rs 10,000 camera portfolio in India. One reason for sales having fallen from 80 percent to 30 percent is the rise of smartphones, which come with nifty, high-res cameras attached these days, that can deliver as good, if not better, performance.
The end? (Image credit: Getty Images)
Executive Vice President for Canon, Alok Bharadwaj, told the paper that there still will be some Canon models available for Rs 10,000 but the company will not be actively pushing the segment, training their eyes instead on the mid-to-high-end and DSLR segments, the latter of which happens to be growing at the pace of 30 percent per annum.
“We are still trying to add features in the entry-level models such as more optical zoom and low-light photography which smartphones can't match. This might also lead to some price hike but the market for plain-vanilla cameras is over. It's going to be a challenging year ahead,” he said.
Fujifilm’s Executive Vice President, Rohit Pandit, too said that the Japanese company will be trimming its portfolio in the coming year.
In contrast, one of the companies that is not thinking of 2014 as a bleak year right now is Sony. The company’s India head, Sunil Nayyar, said that Sony would be looking at the low-end compact camera segment for at least another year before taking a call on scaling down operations. “Despite the market scenario, since Sony controls almost half the compact camera market in India by sales, we would continue with the segment,” he said. Nikon too has said that its sales are growing in this category and will not be slowing things down for low-end compacts.
As it stands though, the market outlook for cheap point-and-shoot looks bleak. With smartphone cameras getting better by the year and the slew of apps that help you share pictures, it only makes sense for the casual photographer to invest in a mid-range or high-end smartphone than a point-and-shoot. Camera makers will try to cram in as many features in the low-end category to maintain differentiation and also offer greater value.