Sony India takes a ‘shot’ at compact camera market

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For Sony, India is among the five largest markets for the company, contributing to 5 per cent of its total global revenue. In order to further strengthen its presence in the country, Sony India launched 34 new Cybershot models in the digital still camera category.

The company is eyeing 45 per cent market share (volumes) in FY12 and is investing Rs 50 crore in its multi-media brand campaign for the Cybershot range. Not surprisingly, Sony’s latest offerings – H, W and S series – come close on the heels of new product launches by rival players, Nikon, Canon and Fujifilm earlier this year, in an attempt to cash in on the growing demand for sophisticated camera devices. While Nikon India launched close to 13 new compact cameras in its COOLPIX range, Canon came out with a new series of PowerShot digital cameras specifically targeted at the youth. On its part Fujifilm added 13 new cameras to their FinePix range.

The larger picture
With the new range, Japanese brand Sony is banking on technologically improved features like Optical Zoom, Steadyshot, and Fast Auto Focus to address the growing demand for high zoom cameras.  Among the 34 new models, eight have Super High Zoom upto 30X and another eight offer Compact High Zoom with 10 X, to capture details.

Masaru Tamagawa, MD, Sony India

“We have received a lot of love for Sony Cyber-shot in the Indian market and we will continue to innovate and create, bringing new technology, design and excitement to our customers. The  High Zoom in our new Cyber-shot line-up helps capture exceptional picture quality and great detail, even when zoomed in considerably, thus being an absolute delight to photography connoisseurs,” said Masaru Tamagawa, Managing Director, Sony India, during the launch.

According to the company, it witnessed growth rate of 45 per cent in terms of quantity, higher than the industry growth rate of 40 per cent in FY11. It plans to outnumber last year’s sale of 11 lakh units and is targeting at selling 14 lakh units of the new Cyber-shot series by FY12. In FY11 the compact camera market was estimated to be at 33 lakh units and is expected to go up to 42 lakh units by 2012. Sony is the leader in the category with 40 per cent market share.

On a roll
While contenders like Nikon COOLPIX and Canon PowerShot specifically target youth, Sony’s new range of compact cameras is targeted towards a fairly large consumer base in the age group of 18 to 45 years, and is priced between Rs 5,490 and 27,990. With a similar pricing, colour, design, and target audience as that of its competitors, Sony Cyber-shot claims to differentiate in terms of superior technology and image quality.

The company has initiated a multi-media brand campaign titled ‘Incredible Zoom. Incredible Details’, which includes a television commercial featuring brand ambassador Deepika Padukone, slated to come on air soon. Hakuhodo Percept handles the company’s creative duties. While Sony’s marketing campaigns for Cyber-shot are yet to take off, others have already started pursuing aggressive marketing strategies for their new product launches. Moreover, with all the players having female celebrities endorse their products, the new target audiences seem to be the female youth. Coolpix is endorsed by Priyanka Chopra, Canon has brought in Anushka Sharma for Power Shot, while Fujifilm has Minissha Lamba on board. However, Tamagawa says that Sony had already started its marketing for the Cybershot range back in February this year.

Apart from undertaking heavy investment in marketing initiatives, Sony India is also planning to expand the channel network to 3,000 outlets in 2012, an increase of 500 outlets from last year. The current 2,500 outlets are distributed amongst 300 brand shops, 1,200 photo stores and 1,000 consumer electronic stores including national retailers. In addition, it presently has 250 after sales touch points for Cyber-shot cameras.

With the digital still camera segment in India expected to witness impressive growth, the company is also looking to further cement its position in the DSLR space. While the company had launched a hybrid range of cameras, NEX-5n and NEX-7 way back in 2010, it hasn’t focused heavily on the DSLR segment till now.

“DSLR cameras in India have picked up pace only in the last two to three years. We believe this is the right time to invest in this segment in India. Sony India will be focusing on the normal SLR segment, and we have exciting launches lined up,” explains Kawamoto Kenichi, Product Head, Digital Imaging at Sony.


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