Covid-19 pandemic severely affected the entire world and has almost brought all industries functioning to a standstill. The nationwide lockdown imposed in the country due to coronavirus outbreak has a large scale impact on photography industry with cancellation of events, studio shutdowns, no work for freelancers, travel, cancellations of wedding and delivery issues.
Our Editor in Chief, Jayanta Ghosh got candid with Mr. Arun Babu, General Manager of Electronic Imaging and Optical Device, Fujifilm India to discuss the effects of this pandemic on the photography industry and how they are working on holistic customer experience and also educating and motivating offline partners during these difficult times.
Impact of Covid on photography and camera industry
The Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected the entire globe and has left an enormous impact on brands across all industries and the camera industry is not behind. While the overall electronics sector has been impacted substantially due to the increasing spread of COVID-19 across the globe, however the need for essential goods like Television, smartphones, etc. is still on a rise. Photography on the other hand considered as a luxury good than a necessity has been feeling the pressure of current restrictions.
With the paradigm shift in consumer behavior during Covid-19, fear about the virus and state restrictions on gathering of people have taken a huge toll on the wedding industry resulting in downsizing in the imaging industry. However, as a brand, we have tried to ensure that we are in touch with our customers regularly by engaging with them through our social media channels and by organizing various live demo sessions to educate them about our innovative range of products.
Despite these challenging situations, we have been working towards modifying our strategies to navigate our way together through this difficult time. By continuously launching innovative products, conducting various educational series and staying connected with our employees and customers, we were able to record a double-digit growth this financial year. At Fujifilm India, 2020 was a tough year for us but as soon as the lockdown restrictions got eased, we were able to make an impactful comeback in the market and expand our business phenomenally. We not only recovered but also grew more than last year’s growth.
Measures taken by Fujifilm in the digital still camera divisions
At Fujifilm, we have always believed in offering a holistic customer experience strategy and during times like these, we have drastically modified our approach. We have been organizing various online workshops through Fujifilm’s social media channels to constantly remain in touch with our consumers through Q&A sessions like ‘Rendezvous’ with professional photographers on Instagram, organizing digital workshops like ‘Pathshala’ and ‘Roobaru’ on YouTube. To help train them by sharing key insights about the camera features along with some tips & tricks around shooting.
Strengthening onto our customer experience, we were the first brand in the industry to modify our product launch strategy during these times by virtually launching the flagship camera – X-T4 last year and recently in March, we also introduced our innovation marvels the GFX S100 and the X-E4 camera. Being a strong believer of the philosophy that it is all about adapting your product offerings, marketing language, and availability according to the business environment. In addition to that, being known for associating with stalwarts of the photography community, Fujifilm has been working with eccentric artists on numerous projects. This year, we announced the profound and ace photographer Mr. Raghu Rai as the brand ambassador for Fujifilm’s X and GFX series of cameras to unfold an exciting new photography venture around India’s magnificent national treasures – the Ajanta Ellora caves.
In fact, to inspire passionate photographers at home, we also started involving many foreign photographers to share insights and key learnings on our platform free to Indian photographers who want to learn from them. This year, we also associated with India Film Project and organised a multi-city campaign ‘X Stories of India’ which aimed at encouraging young millennial vloggers to unleash their video-making skills through innovative content that was exclusively showcased and promoted on Fujifilm’s social media platforms.
Last but not the least, to offer a retail experience to our customers, we have been running online one-on-one demo sessions for our customers. This can be booked online through our Facebook, Instagram, and all the social media handles where our team at Fujifilm are available to guide the consumers to look for the best-suited camera for them.
What are the plans of the company in the post Covid-19 world?
We at Fujifilm have always been driven by simple yet profound goals of creating meaningful advancements that create a value-added impact on its customers and communities. However, the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 has changed the face of many industries. With most of the consumers confined to their homes, their dependency on staying connected digitally has increased as social media platforms have become the primary means of communication with others. Adapting to the new change, we have been following a similar approach and staying connected through our social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to disseminate valuable information to our consumers. We have also been educating and motivating our offline partners to be more digital savvy and be present across all digital and online channels.
As the community moved towards the new normal, we believe that the digital adoption momentum is here to stay and will become permanent. Various marketers across industries are redesigning their business models and the imaging solutions industry is no exception. Consumers are likely to opt for online shopping even after the outbreak ends, and this change is being witnessed in the imaging industry as well. We believe that one should NEVER STOP innovating, evolving product offerings, being resilient and creating according to the business environment. We are optimistic that the imaging solutions industry will bounce back well and will see a good momentum as soon as the situation gets better.
According to you what kind of changing trend you are predicting in the Camera segment
Considering the extraordinary historic times we are in, the need to document and capture the once-in-a-century pandemic has become even more important. Today, photographers do more than just tell stories; they document unprecedented moments in history. Around the world, photographers are braving the front lines to capture this new self-isolated reality. Being limited to their home and interior lives, new delicate studies of introspection and small gestures have emerged. The photographers’ have found new ways to respond to the pandemic, by indulging in self-portraits and never seen before clear and clean landscapes. This has further encouraged people to pick up their cameras and click the beauty of nature in wondrous solitude.
The pandemic has pushed everyone to stay connected through the internet whether you are working from home, attending school from home, catching up with friends via video calls. This growing inclination of staying linked through social media has encouraged many of us to emerge as active YouTubers and influencers across social media channels. In the new normal, they are not only coming up with their quarantine edition of clicks but also encouraging camera enthusiasts who are taking to social media by creating picturesque blogs of their collection.
The lockdown period has given us a good opportunity to tap the new-age vloggers with our wide range of cameras in the digital segment like X-E4, X-A7, and many more. With our innovative range of products, this increasing number of influencers have been creating content and videos during the lockdown to keep their consumers informed, entertained, and educated.
Over this period, we have seen that consumers are constantly on the lookout to adopt new hobbies, with the extra time in their hands. We see this trend of staying connected and engaging with consumers across social media handles to further grow in the coming times.
Company’s future plans and product launches
At Fujifilm, it is our continuous endeavor to introduce new technological innovations that inspires consumers. To meet our potential to the fullest and expand the horizons of tomorrow’s businesses and lifestyles, we have been expanding our range of products. Last year, we became the first imaging brand to modify its product launch strategy in the camera industry keeping in mind our community-first approach, especially during these times with the launch of the X-T4 digital mirrorless camera. Earlier this year, we announced the launch of our new medium format mirrorless digital camera GFX 100S along with a new X series camera X-E4 and three lenses. With the launch of this new GFX 100s camera, the medium format camera has become very affordable and is giving a tough competition to competitors in full frame camera segment. In the near future, we expect the medium format to be a key preference among consumers and therefore are planning to introduce new products that will be a game changer in the industry.
Being very quick to adapt to the changing times, Fujifilm as a company has remained resilient and has adapted the virtual model of business very smoothly. With our consumer’s best interest as our core policy, we will look to create more virtual consumer centric platforms and give them the in-store experience through the comfort of their homes. This being said we are continuously modifying our offerings while testing new online content platforms for future sales and consumption patterns. We believe that a delightful experience ensures customers to stay hooked.
Therefore, we are focused on expanding our range of products across categories and bring value to the lives of consumers with the best-in-class innovation.