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Digital cameras – what’s worth more: brand or features?

Posted by Debby Penton on 2nd August 2013

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to spot that with many of us having a camera in our pocket at all times in the form of our smartphones, this is naturally going to have an impact on the digital camera market, and the figures clearly reflect this.

To be fair the entire consumer technology market is experiencing a tough year with sales in Q2 being 16% less than 2012 across the board according to GFK Retail.  But then last year was a bit of a bumper sporting summer, which positively impacted the sales of digital cameras, TVs and other consumer goods.

However, despite the decline the market is still predicted to be worth £523 million by 2016 according to Mintel, so there is clearly a lot to play for.

So what do the camera manufacturers need to do to stand out against their traditional competitors and the challenge of the omnipresent smartphone?  And how worried do the big brands need to be?

We recently conducted some consumer tech buying research with Censuswide into the key decision making factors people make when buying technology. One would think that price is by far the most influential factor when buying “gadgets” in this tough economy.  And on the whole it is, everywhere except the sale of cameras that is.

Unusually, while price comes out on top in most age groups for other consumer technologies – ‘features’ are almost as important for the sale of digital cameras, in fact they are an even more critical consideration for the 16-25yrs and 55+ categories (see chart).

So the answer is to innovate then, as argued by my colleague specifically in the area of shareability and wireless connectivity?

Well yes, but as well as innovate, how you then market your digital camera is also crucial. With features being a primary consideration, you need to really understand the audience you are targeting, highlighting the features that are going to be of most interest to them.  Younger audiences crave the ability to share photos quickly on Facebook or Instagram, whereas the older buyers could be more interested in image quality for example.

And the relative influence of brand on the purchase decision is also an interesting finding.  According to our research it lags well behind price and features, showing there is a lot less brand-snobbery with digital cameras and people are happier to experiment with lesser-known brands to get the features they want.

This is great news for challenger brands, and companies like Samsung perhaps not widely recognised for its prowess in this sector.  But it’s not such good news for market leaders, who are going to have to work much harder to prove to consumers that the features they offer are better than everyone else’s.

Oh, and getting your product review programme right to ensure you have plenty of independent endorsement and credibility is pretty crucial too as our consumer influencer research highlighted.  Funnily enough we’ve got a new product review guide about that!

photo credit: *** Fanch The System !!! ***

Debby Penton

Motivated, competitive and highly experienced, Debby drives excellence across the agency and leads by example, going the extra mile to create stand-out campaigns and a dynamic agency culture. As CEO, Debby champions a new breed of PR that meets the evolving communication needs of today’s tech companies.