Cameras brands are facing the heat of competition from smart phones. Sajjan Kumar, managing director, Nikon India, is pretty confident of future prospects. He talks to Serilda Coutinho, about the consumption pattern and future demand for cameras
With smart phones offering high photograph quality how has it impacted camera sales?
Smart phones have camera as one of the feature. However when it comes to good image you cannot do without a camera. Now everyone has become a photographer and when someone borrows a DSLR from their friend that is when the market expands for camera brands like ours. People who are seriously looking at photography as a hobby or interest are certainly looking for a proper solution which can be got from a DSLR, mirror less or compact camera.
Who are the buyers of cameras these days?
Amateurs and professionals. Photography professional in the wedding segment are very huge customer segment. In India we spend a lot on our weddings. Other professional segments are wildlife, fashion and food photography. Sales are moving towards high-end cameras that provide various solutions and the earlier entry level compacts are going out of trend. Current entry level cameras start at around Rs 10,000. Below that rate the market is gone. When you talk of numbers there is an impact but in terms of value or turn over I do not see much impact. Camera market is growing because people are moving towards the high end products. The mass numbers that we used get from basic compacts or entry level DSLR is moved towards upgraded products. High zoom is one of the segments in compact digital cameras that are doing very well. When buying a compact camera people are looking for a product that will be apt for a second camera for birding life photography.
Which are your best performing products in the Indian market?
Nikon offers the complete range of imaging products. We have compact cameras, DSLR and mirror less cameras that are supported by our lenses and accessories. It depends on the customer requirement but if we talk in terms of numbers they come from DSLR in the price range of around Rs one lakh. When we talk of typical professional products then it is the full frame DSLR’s as well as mirror less DSLR’s. This segment is patronized by the wedding photographers and high end fashion photographers or wildlife photographers.
In terms of percentage of sales 55 to 60 per cent of the sales are generated through DSLR camera alone. The remaining comes from lenses followed by compact cameras and mirror less. Mirror less cameras were launched in September last year and currently we have two products in this category. They have been well accepted by the consumers. I believe that they were waiting for such a product to be launched under the brand. We are connecting more with our customers who are looking for fresh products.
How would you place your products in terms of the pricing? Is it affordable?
It is affordable and luckily we have got good support from the consumers. Nikon stands for quality. It is a brand that is very well accepted in the market.
How are you faring in the Goa market?
Goa is a holiday destination where people come more than once in their lifetime. When you talk of photography there is a lot of scenic beauty here in the landscape, beaches and heritage architecture. When tourists come for a summer holiday or during the season I have seen that everybody has a camera in their hand. For sales in terms of numbers Goa is not very big market. But we have connected to our customers through two experience zones in Panjim and the newly launched one in Margao. Apart from that we have around eight serious partners in Goa. Experience zones provide all kind of product solutions under one roof, it is a shop-in-shop kind of concept where the complete range is available that includes from lenses to supporting accessories required for the cameras. We are looking at the tourist buyers and the local consumers when it comes to the wedding segment. The state also has many professional photography courses that bring in students from different states and this also boosts the sales of cameras.
Which segment of the market contributes the most to your sales in India?
Wedding is one of the big segment but apart from that hobbyist, amateurs and other segments are now contributing a lot. The western region and Maharashtra as a single entity contributes to most of the sales in India.
You are the first Indian to be appointed as managing director of the Indian subsidiary of Nikon. What is your observation on the camera market and the consumption pattern in India?
When I started almost 10 years back our market share in compact cameras was 10 percent. In DSLR we had a 28 percent market share. Now we have reached to point we are a very strong player. In terms of demand for high end products I believe we will offer lot of opportunities in the years to come. In terms of the population and consumption of product there is a big difference from the other developed markets like China. We are in single digit consumption while theirs is double digit. In India we have a lot of occasions and festivals to click on so there is a complete package for photography and videographer available. We conduct a lot of workshops through the Nikon School for Photography and try to understand the specifications that consumers are looking for. We want to stay connected to our customers.
What is India’s contribution in terms of sales in the global camera market for your brand?
We are contributing close to three percent at the global level for Nikon brand. We hold close to 45 percent market share in the India market.
How has the current financial in terms of sales been for Nikon products have the targets set been achieved? Were the sales driven of hike in pricing or volumes?
It is mainly the high-end products because we have not got into the number games and we do not intend to. We are looking at a segment where we can work more closely towards satisfying our customers. So mainly the high end segment of cameras and lenses have contributed more.
What are the plans for the 2019- 2020? Are there any new launches slated for the year?
The next year is bound to be challenging as we have to establish the mirror less camera segment and strengthen our position in the market. Apart from satisfying our customers who are into DSLR and compact cameras we also want to establish ourselves in the videographer segment. We will also be promoting still photography camera through our workshops.