"Our growing focus is to cater to the demand of photography enthusiasts who want to graduate from smartphone photography"
In a chat with VARINDIA, C Sukumaran, Director - Consumer System Products Division & Image Communication Products Division, CANON talks about the present photography landscape of the country, how high-end smartphones with rich camera quality affecting digital camera market, product portfolio, channels strategy etc.
What is the current scope of photography in India? What kind of future do you foresee?
Photography as an art has grown by leaps and bounds, and it continues to grow. It has become a part of our everyday life as our eagerness to keep preserving memories has been one of the most vital factors in the growth of photography, both as a hobby and as a profession. This has in fact contributed towards the evolution of photography as we have so many genres sprouting from an art form, both established and emerging such as wedding, wildlife, lifestyle, fashion, documentary, cinema and more.
Furthermore, the massive adoption of social media and video blogging in India has acted as a catalyst in the growth of photography industry. The proliferation of imaging culture has led to an increased demand of new and innovative products in the industry, as users are constantly looking for breakthrough technologies to meet their photography requirements. This proves to be a great opportunity for us and the industry at large, thereby making it a responsibility of camera manufacturers like us, to keep innovating and expand our product portfolio to suit the evolving needs of our vast consumer base.
How has the proliferation of high-end smartphones with impressive camera features affected the rise of the digital camera market?
In the past few years, the penetration of smartphones in India has increased significantly. While the intent was to keep people connected, eventually camera became the key selling point for the majority of smartphone brands. This in fact led to a noticeable contribution to the propagation of imaging culture in the country, as consumers heartily responded with their intent to explore visual expression. However, in case of smartphone photography, the scope and the opportunities are limited and this is where DSLR and Mirrorless Camera photography comes in. Smartphone photography is exactly the right kind of hook for people to explore their love for photography, while their passion for photography is satiated by DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras. As one of the leading imaging brands globally, our growing focus is to cater to the demand of photography enthusiasts who want to graduate from smartphone photography. From a product perspective, cameras are equipped to offer unique imaging aesthetics and are always a value-add for a user, as compared to a smartphone. For instance, one of the unique advantages of a conventional camera against a smartphone, is the presence of an ecosystem of diverse lenses and accessories that heightens the user experience manifolds.
Could you throw some light on Canon’s camera offerings in India? What are some of the best performing cameras by Canon in India?
At Canon, we are focused on increased innovation in alignment with our customers’ changing demands and preferences. We are a customer centric business and our strategy is based on consumer buying patterns and insights, hence we have what is called a ‘full lineup strategy’. As part of this strategy, we want to cater to all of the demands in the market, so we have mirrorless and DSLR, which combined over 60+ lenses and range of speedlites completes the EOS system, thereby aiming to plug the gap and suit customer demands across product options and price bands. From a user segmentation perspective, we offer a wide array of products across genres that cuts across segments from beginners to professionals.
Among the popular models are the legendary and ground-breaking professional cameras EOS 1DXMKIII and EOS 5DMK IV. In the mirrorless category, EOS R along with our new range of RF lenses is gaining huge popularity among professionals.
In the mid segment, both EOS 80D and the new EOS 90D are the superheroes while the mirrorless EOS RP is now breaking new sales records.
In the consumer category, EOS 200DMKII, EOS 1500D and EOS 3000D are our best selling products.
Canon has maintained No. 1 share of the global market for 17 consecutive years (2003-2019) in interchangeable lens digital camera category.
What is your retail and channel strategy for the camera portfolio in 2020? How do you plan to expand it further?
Channel Partners are considered as one of the most key elements of Canon’s ecosystem in India. They are an extension to our overall brand presence and therefore considered as our extended family. Given this, we work closely with our channel partners and Value-Added Resellers in all the major cities for our product portfolio and large consumer base. We plan to reach out to tier I tier II and tier III markets through sustained marketing campaign, easy finance offers and add-on solutions. Currently, Canon camera products are available at over 150+ exclusive Canon Image Squares (CIS), 1200+Multi Brand Outlets (MBOs) and over 550+ National Retail Chains outlets.
How do you try to transform your channel from time to time through new channel initiatives and programs?
With the rapidly evolving channel industry, it is imperative for us to keep in line with the new technologies. Since digital cameras as specialized products, training plays an important role in keep our partners updated with the latest technologies. We organize both classroom and online training on both products and our latest technologies.
Canon also supports select outlets with trained in-shop demonstrators to explain features and to provide live demos to customers.
Affordability is key and Canon in tie-up with leading banks provide the facility of easy EMI through select retail outlets.