30 Seconds On The Business Of Digital Photography

Gulf Business speaks to Keitaro So, general manager, Fujifilm Electronics Imaging Division, MENA.

How advanced is the digital photography industry in the MENA region?

The industry has experienced dynamic growth with more people becoming interested in the field and pursuing it as a career. The MENA region has also seen a rise in organisations supporting photography. Compact digital cameras supplied to the GCC (for all brands) reached over four million in 2011, according to a report by IDC.

MENA’s digital photography industry is now even in the process of catching up with regions like Japan, US and Europe and has seen a significant rise in mid-level and professional cameras.

Do you cater more to industry professionals or end consumers?

End consumers still make up the bulk of the market but most brands are now investing in high-end cameras and technology, which has led to aggressive competition in the market. Middle to high end cameras are the future of the industry, hence investing in technology and R&D is of utmost importance.

In terms of end customers, do locals or tourists constitute the main segment?

The local population is the primary focus in this market as the people here are tech savvy and regularly upgrade their photography equipment. Key periods such as the Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Summer Surprises, GITEX and the summer holidays are when the bulk of the shopping takes place.

From a global perspective, how wide is the variety of products and services available here?

The UAE market in specific is very responsive to customer needs and brands make sure that all their popular models are available here. However, there may be certain add-ons and accessories that are only available on demand.

What’s the future of digital photography?
The focus moving forward is on improving technology and the quality of images. Beyond this, there is a significant threat posed by smartphones that have improved cameras and applications such as Instagram. However, cameras are also introducing features such as wireless connectivity to make it easier to share photos via social media. The industry is bound to evolve and play an even more important role in people’s lives.