Futuresource Consulting has released its latest UK photo enthusiast report, highlighting an interesting contrast, as demand for photography equipment across the overall market continues to soften. The ‘professional enthusiast’ equipment segment is not only increasing in terms of total available market (TAM) but it is also witnessing stability in terms of both annual volume and value sales. In 2015, the professional enthusiast segment represented a rapidly increasing share of overall equipment revenues, with a 48% market share.
The report found that in terms of shipments, the professional enthusiast segment reached 0.44 million units in 2015, which translated further into £268 million in retail value. This included professional enthusiast equipment such as premium fixed lens (FL) cameras, mid-pro interchangeable lens cameras (IL) and all standalone lenses. The shift towards professional enthusiast equipment was particularly driven by mid-level IL cameras, which in 2015, grew by 14% in volume and 18% in value. Compact system camera (CSC) standalone lenses grew by >20% in both volume and value. The outlook for professional enthusiast equipment is stable in absolute terms, with value remaining broadly constant and is predicted to represent a growing share of overall revenues, reaching almost two thirds by 2019.
“The population of professional enthusiasts witnessed concentration around hobbyists & semi-professionals. These segments have enjoyed growth, fuelled by casual enthusiasts ‘stepping up’, whereas the number of full-time professionals and overall casual photographers fell,” commented Arun Gill, Senior Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “It is becoming harder to make a full time living from professional photography, hence the falling number of professionals, yet this is offset by a broader pool of semi-professionals making part of their income from photography.”
The report goes onto highlight a slight shift away from mass market retailers and the specialist stores are rising in importance. “Photo and consumer electronics retailers represent a stable share of overall photography equipment volumes and hold a rising share of values. They are best placed to satisfy the needs of the professional enthusiast population and drive business for camera and lens manufacturers,” continued Gill.
Moving forwards, Futuresource expects future purchase intent for new equipment to remain high among IL camera owners and considerably higher among professionals. Innovation in cameras and photography is breathing life into professional enthusiast photography. More than 50% of professionals expect to buy a CSC in the next 1-2 years and a Drone in the next 2-3 years.
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