We recently ran an article reviewing the new Nikon Coolpix A digital camera, and in it we briefly looked at the pressures that are being placed on compact digital camera manufacturers like Nikon and Fujifilm. The simple point is that the market has changed markedly in recent years, with changing consumer tastes and requirements. Mobile phones have changed the market, meaning that everybody essentially carries a compact digital camera in their back pocket, all day, every day. As camera phones have gotten better and better, we no longer feel the need to take a bulky compact camera on day trips, nights out and to special occasions. Fujifilm announcing that they’re to cut 50% of their compact cameras would, on the surface of it, fit well with this story.
Yet compact digital cameras are a growth market. So what gives?
Indeed, major firms are cutting back their compact camera lines. Fuji are merely the latest to announce plans to scale back compact camera production in light of the smart phone revolution.
Hiroshi Tanaka, GM of Fuji’s Optical Device and Electronic Imaging Products Division, outlined the companies plans to cull the companies lower end models, where margins are low and sales are declining. Fujifilm have around 20 compacts, so the cull will eliminate around ten of them. The company is additionally making some internal structural changes in order to realign their company and to cut some costs, with potential savings of 10% to be had for their remaining compacts. One obvious way that they will do this will be to consolidate production, as currently they build compact digital cameras across numerous locations.
That’s the bad news dealt with, as FujiFilms main aim here is to build a sturdy base for their higher end compact digital camera business. They have gone public in saying that they’re ‘extremely pleased’ by the reviews coming in around their higher end models, and they have identified this as the area that will make Compact digital cameras work for Fujifilm again.
This sentiment was echoed by Adrian Clarke, SVP for Fujifilm Europe told AP: ‘We are overwhelmed by the positive reaction from photographers to the introduction of models like the X-E1, X100s, X20 and the lens line-up.‘Although we enjoy the compact market, it’s fantastic for Fuji to get back to “real” photography.’
The companies aim is to make their camera line up profitable again by 31 March next year.