By Ian Burley
31st August - 2001
Although news of the new Nikon Coolpix 775 (right) and 885 is several days old, last night was the UK official launch party (click here for more details).
Nikon UK’s general manager for imaging products, Simon Coleman, made some interesting comments concerning prospects for the UK digital camera market during the evening.
His theme was ‘digital expectations’ and the message was that digital is really taking off in the UK. “Within the UK, the revenue from digital camera sales now surpasses that generated by the other formats put together,” Coleman revealed.
“At the moment 47% of households have access to a PC. Think colour TV and mobile phones and these are 97% and 57% respectively. To put this into perspective, digital camera penetration was 4% of households last December. What is clear is that in the run up to this Christmas sales are expected to increase dramatically.”
This optimistic tone on the part of Coleman appears unaffected by the growing concern of a pending global recession. The UK looks relatively unaffected by these concerns, though there are signs that the public is being a bit more cautious about high street spending now.
But Coleman feels that the impetus of digital photography is reaching further afield as more people feel the urge to try digital for the first time: “Our feeling is that the ‘when to jump in’ question has been answered as the quality issue for the majority of customer needs has been surpassed, thus making digital photography accessible to the mass market.
“Our research suggests that in many people’s opinion, it is not ‘if’ but ‘when’ to sample digital.”
Nikon has been early to use the Internet to add value to its hardware offerings through its online FotoShare service. Coleman points out that in the UK some 38% of individuals have access to the Internet this year and this is likely to increase to 52% in 2002. Digital camera sales will directly benefit from this growth, hinted Coleman.
The bottom line is that Coleman expects that 4% penetration of digital cameras last December to hit 10%, a 150% increase, by this December. That market is estimated to be worth £750 million this year. Confidence in this expected growth means Nikon is going to execute a national TV campaign during November and December in order to secure Nikon’s fair share of the pie.
Coleman’s message underlines one of the reasons behind the creation of this Web site. Here in the UK we are earlier in the development cycle of the digital photography market than the US or Japan. Digital Photography Now is here to help both new and more experienced digital photographers make the most of this exciting new resource and we look forward to growing with our readers and the market in general.