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Quo vadis Photo trade?

Dear PHOTOPIA Family,


Noboru Akabane, President and CEO of Ricoh Imaging, recently caused a stir with his thesis that "the traditional way of doing business, based on mass production and mass sales, is becoming less and less suited to recent changes in the market environment."

In Japan, he therefore plans to market the Pentax and GR brands exclusively online in the future. Through a targeted "co-creation community," the manufacturer wants to work more closely with users as early as the product planning stage. There is no doubt that falling demand is putting the photographic industry under economic pressure. The effects of the pandemic are not making the situation any easier. But despite lockdowns and the sluggish recovery of customer footfall in city centers, the Ringfoto specialty retailer cooperation is reporting a healthy increase in sales, even though backlogs in deliveries are still causing problems at present.

Nevertheless, Calumet Photographic is also growing not only online, but also in stationary stores. The Hamburg-based photo retailer is part of the European Imaging Group, EIG, together with Munich-based top dog Foto Sauter and Wex Photo Video. Only recently, new flagship stores were opened in Hanover and Cologne. A majority stake in cameraNU.nl also made it the largest independent photo retailer in the Netherlands, with six stores.

The biggest competitor at present is probably the photo and video specialist Kamera Express, which in turn took over the German Foto Gregor Group with eight stores in the fall. Kameraexpress has a total of 34 stores in Europe.

However, it is also possible to go one size smaller: about two years ago, FOTOPROFI GmbH was founded in southern Germany by previously independent, traditional photo retailers. Together, they are pursuing the goal of becoming better known and gaining additional market share without losing their aura as owner-operated specialty stores.

What they all have in common is that, as omnichannel retailers, they combine the advantages of the online world with those of stationary retail. While they offer a wide selection and availability of merchandise online, they provide expert advice at their brick-and-mortar locations, offer opportunities to touch, try out and borrow, workshops and much more.

This is a concept that PHOTOPIA Hamburg is also pursuing as an omnichannel event for photography: While the PHOTOPIA Summit with exhibitors, events, conferences and exhibitions gathers the photo community once a year for a big festival, PHOTOPIA 365 accompanies the scene virtually all year round with news, online events and promotions.

Yours sincerly
Christian Popkes