Nikon, which recently launched its KeyMission action and wearable camera series in India, wants to challenge the status quo in terms of how consumers have been sharing their stories online, with a focus on innovation, including its ‘shoot and share’ feature. In conversation with BrandWagon’s Ankita Rai, Kazuo Ninomiya of Nikon India talks about the company’s priorities and why the shop-in-shop concept works best in this category instead of selling online.
As you complete one year as the MD of Nikon India, what is your roadmap for the Indian market? What is the overall contribution of India towards the company’s global revenues?
As of 2015, we had a 59% share in DSLR in India and a 49% share in the compact digital camera category. We foresee good momentum in the growth of DSLR sales this year. Quantity-wise, the market size for DSLR in India is 0.5 million and our target is to have 50-60% of the share for this year. In 2015, Nikon’s turnover in India was R1,000 crore. In 2016, we expect it to be R1,100 crore. Around 2-3% of the total imaging business comes from India. Business-wise, India is the fifth biggest country for us. We want India to be among the top three countries within five years.
The total shipments of digital cameras in 2015 fell 18.5% y-o-y to 35.4 million units (Camera and Imaging Products Association). Digital cameras are facing fierce competition from smartphones. How is Nikon affected?
I don’t see any impact on DSLR sales. But in case of the compact digital camera segment, the market is shrinking because of smartphones. This year, the market size is around 0.25 million units. Last year, it was around 0.4 million. We have seen a 30% decline. However, booming smartphone photography is driving DSLR sales. The number of pictures clicked by smartphones is increasing and a huge number of such images are being uploaded on social platforms like Instagram/Facebook. The quality of the image has become a key differentiator. And this is where a DSLR camera scores over smartphones.
To cater to the always-connected user and her need to share content over social networks, we have launched our Snapbridge app this year. With Snapbridge, the image gets automatically transferred to the smartphone.
Secondly, we are constantly innovating. We recently launched the 360 degree camera series of KeyMission action and wearable cameras. This will change the status quo in terms of how consumers have been sharing their stories. It will set a benchmark in consumer created content.
Has the target segment changed since Nikon entered India in 2008 with amateurs upgrading from smartphones to DSLRs?
Prior to Nikon’s entry in India in 2007, the market had very limited options for photography equipment. The demography of photographers was also very narrow with DSLRs belonging to the domain of professional photographers. Incidentally, Nikon was considered as an ideal brand meant for expert photographers only. Over the years, with the advent of social media, people across varied lifestyles are hooked onto photography. It has become part of the mainstream culture with new genres coming in, such as travel, food and candid photography. At Nikon, we aim to cater mostly to this group which has contributed to the bulk of our sales. Nikon receives around 55% of sales from amateur photographers.
Nikon issued a circular last year saying e-commerce websites/portals were not authorised partners/dealers in India for sale of its products or accessories. Is there a change in the e-commerce plan now?
We plan to expand Nikon’s retail footprint in the country. We have 120 stores at present and plan to open five more by the end of this fiscal. We believe in the shop-in-shop concept so that consumers get to experience the product before purchasing and make a responsible decision.
We have no plans to tie-up with e-commerce players, although the new e-commerce norms by the government are a welcome move. We understand the opportunity and future of this platform. But it is more important to control the experience on the end-user front. We have appointed 570 ISDs (in shop demonstrators) all across India, trained by Nikon.
The problem with e-commerce is the lack of genuine products online. Some of the products sold online are purchased abroad and sold in India. They are not authorised products meant for the Indian market. Consumers who purchase their products online are eligible for a two-year warranty if the product is genuine.
We have 120 Nikon experience zones all across India, including tier-II and tier-III cites. We have strong after sales service with five head office branches, 32 service centres and 67 collection centres. There are over 4,500 dealer bases for complete service and support for Nikon customers.
In 2015, Nikon discontinued celebrity brand endorsement and launched the I Am campaign in India. As you enter the second leg of your journey here, with a focus on products, how will it reflect in your communication strategy?
Earlier the focus of Nikon’s advertising and marketing strategy was to amplify visibility of our brand. So we took the celebrity route. Now we have adopted a two-tiered approach to take our products to various markets. India is a diverse country, with various languages, cultures and festivals. Therefore, we have started spending on customised advertising in different regions for better consumer connect by making ads as personal as possible. We also want to emphasise on promoting the photography culture by not just drawing attention to specific features of camera models but also focussing on the photography genre for which the camera can be used.
Nikon’s I Am campaign hoped to connect on a more direct level with our audience. Given the evolution of the photography culture in India, there was a need to create a platform to bring both current users and other enthusiasts under one umbrella. Nikon also launched its own engaging microsite, iamnikon.in where users could participate in content and photo contests. The latest campaign launched under the I Am umbrella includes I am on a Mission, to mark Nikon’s recent launch into the action camera market with its KeyMission range.