Samsung eyes global domination for mirrorless cameras

After becoming the market leader in South Korea's mirrorless camera market during the last quarter of 2012, Samsung is focusing more resources to win over 25 percent global marketshare by 2015.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

Samsung aims to be the market leader for mirrorless cameras by 2015, after leading the domestic market in the final quarter last year.

The NX200 is an example of a mirrorless camera, where it is not fitted with a reflex mirror such as those used in SLRs to bounce an image through the lens to a viewfinder. (credit: Samsung)

According to data released from Samsung on Sunday, the firm sold the most mirrorless cameras in South Korea with a share of 39 percent in the last three months of 2012, making it the country's top vendor in the market, The Korea Times reported. Mirrorless cameras are cameras not fitted with a reflex mirror such as those used in single lens (SLRs) to bounce an image through the lens to a viewfinder.

Samsung had also surpassed Japan's Sony, which had a local marketshare of 38.3 percent in the mirrorless camera market in the last quarter of 2012. During the July to September period last year, Sony had dominated the local mirrorless camera market with a 46.5 percent, followed by Samsung at 33 percent.

Moving forward, it aims to be the top mirrorless camera vendor worldwide by 2015, controlling over 25 percent of global share. It has already converted its compact manufacturing lines at its main camera plant in China to produce more mirrorless models, Suk Won-ki, a company spokesperson told The Korea Times.

"We are a challenger. But we want to become a game changer," said Suk, stressing Samsung’s lowered reliance on point-and-shoot camera sales by shifting to mirrorless cameras which offers it the chance to further explore the market.

Plans paying off

He added sales of conventional compact cameras declined as smartphones and tablets became more popular, and that more are now buying digital SLR cameras and mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The company is hence, better positioned to effectively grow that business, with "qualified technologies, undisputable leverage in manufacturing and solid corporate brand awareness".

"Over the past few years, we’ve been very consistent in expanding product lineups and shifting away from low-end compact cameras as a strategy to put more focus on the lucrative mirrorless cameras. This strategy was correct," Suk said.

Industry watchers previously told ZDNet Asia consumers were seeing lower value in digital point-and-shoot cameras when they have smartphones, and that manufacturers should highlight key benefits of cameras, cater to changing user needs and target emerging markets.

One of Samsung's mirrorless camera, the Galaxy camera, was a "good comeback" with product innovation, 3G capabilities, and has the capability to upload directly to a user's preferred social network, Deepender Rana, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific chief client officer at Millward Brown, said. The Korean vendor was also "smart" in using the Galaxy sub-brand name, which was recognized by consumers and shared by the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note smartphones, Rana added.

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