Local manufacturing remains out of the question for camera and imaging equipment maker Nikon India, even though it expects to cross 1,000 crore in annual revenue by the end of this year, Mint reported.

A Nikon camera (Unsplash)

Despite the firm’s growth, the market is not large enough for its parent company, Tokyo-headquartered Nikon Corporation, to set up factories and supply chains in India, said Sajjan Kumar, managing director of Nikon India in an interview with Mint.

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“All our cameras remain fully imported from other manufacturing hubs,” he added.

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The numbers

Only two of every 100 smartphone users in India also buy a dedicated digital camera, Keizo Fujii, managing director and chief regional officer for Nikon in South-East Asia, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East, told Mint.

“India is a unique market in comparison to Nikon’s other global markets due to its vast wedding industry,” Fujii said. “Excluding Japan and China, India accounts for 40% of Nikon Corporation’s revenue in Asia and Africa.”

According to Nikon’s internal estimates, 2.5 lakh digital cameras were sold in India in the financial year 2023-24. Kumar said that the market could hit 2.65 lakh units by 2024-25.

In comparison, about 150 million smartphones are expected to be sold in 2024-25, meaning that the size of the digital camera market will be just 0.2% of the smartphone market by volume, the report read.

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What did the pandemic do?

The market’s size and the average selling price of digital cameras grew steadily since the pandemic’s end, Kumar said, adding that while entry-level cameras saw a slight decline in sales, mid to high-end cameras grew by 12% year-on-year. Nikon considers cameras priced above one lakh rupees to be mid-range and high-end, according to the report.

Rivals and product diversification

Nikon’s rivals include Canon, Fujifilm and Sony. An estimate of four market research platforms by Mint showed Nikon, Canon and Sony make up more than 85% of India’s digital camera market, with Canon at the top and Nikon a close second.

Sony operates as a large electronics conglomerate in India, selling televisions, gaming consoles and audio devices as well, while Canon makes printers.

Nikon chose to diversify into healthcare in 2022. “We sell directly to healthcare research institutes, the in-vitro fertilisation industry, and hospitals. Most of the offerings are entry- to mid-range microscopes,” said Kumar. “This contributes 5% of our annual revenue. With the union government focusing on this sector, we expect it to ramp up further.”

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