The CEO of one of Australia’s largest camera chains claims that the importation of branded camera gear will appeal to small retail and online operators, but not the larger chains. He also said that Canon was losing up to 30% of their Digital SLR business to online.Paul Shearer, the CEO of the Camera House chain, told ChannelNews that a lot of camera business is being lost to overseas web sites and that big brands like Canon, have already lost 30 percent of their digital SLR market to online operators and grey importers.
He believes that large operators like Camera House who often place orders for 500 cameras at a time would struggle to deal with grey importers who in recent weeks have established Australian bank accounts to facilitate trading over here.
Shearer said: “Grey importers of branded cameras are a threat for manufacturers but it will be hard for them to legitimise large volume purchases into Australia. We, for example, would need 500 units at a time”.
He added “We believe that Canon has already lost 30 percent of their Digital SLR business to grey online operators. It is an issue”.
Earlier this week three parallel importers contacted 4Square Media to report that they had now set up Australian accounts to facilitate the drop shipping of parallel imported camera’s into Australia.
Late last month the Chairman of JB Hi Fi Patrick Elliott, claimed that Internet trading is set to be an issue for many retailers in the future and that parallel importing is a “temporary issue” that will go away as the market re-adjusts to lower prices.
“Local manufacturers realise that they are losing control of global supply. As a result they are already starting to lower their costs in Australia in an effort to stay competitive” Elliott said.
“It will get to the stage where bringing in small shipments of goods from overseas will not be cost effective and due to the lowering of prices in Australia driven by online the market will rebalance itself,” he said.
Canon has not responded to our email requesting a comment on grey importing and the potential loss of 30 percent of their DSLR business to online.