|J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Consumers Find Improved Functionality and Speed in Digital Cameras, Even as Prices Fall|
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Aug. 16, 2005 -- Kodak and Sony Lead the Industry in Satisfying Digital Camera Owners
Consumers find improved functionality and speed in new digital cameras on the market, even as digital camera prices fall, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2005 Digital Camera Satisfaction Study(SM) released today.
The study finds digital camera buyers are increasingly satisfied with the functionality and speed of the cameras they purchase, particularly with cameras in the lower price segments. The gap in terms of camera performance between high and low-priced cameras has shrunk considerably compared to 2004.
"This is a great time for consumers to buy a digital camera, as improving technology and falling prices make digital cameras more accessible than ever to the average buyer," said Ron Conlin, partner at J.D. Power and Associates. "Buyers are getting more camera for their money, and this is clearly reflected in satisfaction ratings. The challenge to camera manufacturers is to offer consumers products that are versatile, yet easy to use, since customers who are most satisfied with their current camera are also most likely to be loyal to the brand in the future."
The study measures satisfaction of digital camera owners across four price segments: $199 or less; $200-$399; $400-$599; and $600 or more. Overall satisfaction is based on performance across four factors: performance, connectivity, cost and appearance.
Kodak ranks highest in the $199 or less price segment and, for the second consecutive year, in the $200-$399 segment. Kodak experiences considerable gains in customer satisfaction ratings in both segments, receiving high ratings from owners in performance, connectivity and cost. Kodak also receives the highest ratings in the $200-$399 segment for appearance.
Sony ranks highest in the $400-$599 and $600 or more segments, with very strong satisfaction improvements. Sony performs particularly well in both segments in appearance, performance and connectivity and leads the $600 or more segment in cost.
The study finds that DSLRs (digital single-lens reflex cameras with interchangeable lenses) make up the fastest-growing segment in the market. While particularly popular among serious photographers, these high-end models are increasingly attracting mainstream consumers.
"With many features previously reserved for more expensive cameras now being offered on lower-priced models, the interchangeable lenses that characterize DSLR models help to differentiate them from the rest of the market," said Conlin. "Manufacturers also made pricey DSLR cameras more attractive to consumers by allowing buyers to use lenses from their old film-based SLR cameras. For all their complexity, DSLRs are becoming an excellent value for the money and have spawned an industry of aftermarket accessories such as lenses and strobes."
The study also finds that the Internet plays an important role in helping digital camera buyers make their purchase decisions, and buyers are relying less on recommendations from retail salespeople. Overall, 62 percent of buyers used the Internet to conduct research before purchasing a camera.
"There is a wealth of information available to consumers on the Internet that helps camera buyers decipher which models fit their needs," said Conlin. "With a dizzying array of models and features on the market, consumers should first decide how they plan to use the camera and how much they to want to spend. Whether using Web sites or consumer publications, doing the research ahead of time certainly increases the chances a buyer will be happy with what they ultimately buy."
Digital camera owners are also turning to the Internet more than ever before to share their digital photos with others. While consumers are increasingly using online photo sites and retail locations to make prints of photos, 21 percent of digital camera owners post photos to an online service such as Snapfish.com and Kodakgallery.com -- up from 16 percent in 2004.
The 2005 Digital Camera Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 4,256 consumers who purchased a digital camera between January 2005 and July 2005. For more information on customer satisfaction performance of digital camera brands, visit the J.D. Power Consumer Center at www.jdpower.com.
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction. The firm's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education and BusinessWeek. The Corporation has more than 300 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2004 were $5.3 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.
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