The Societies TradeShow 2012 - Chat with Pentax
Posted by: layingback on Mon Jan 16, 2012 21:28
I managed to catch the Pentax stand at a quiet time Saturday morning, and so had quite a long chat with the rep.
Here's the summary: Pentax is very positive and enthusiastic about the Ricoh takeover.
The following are some of the details I picked up.
Ricoh has acquired the entire photographic division, including R&D and even the buildings and facilities they use in Japan.
Ricoh has set a goal of increasing Pentax market share by 3 times over the next few years. While Pentax would like to think they could one day be competing directly with Canon and Nikon, they understand that's not likely because of the investments in glass already out there. But even a 3-fold increase is a huge ask, nevertheless Pentax seems keen that they now in a position to a go at that sort of market share.
Ricoh has told Pentax that it will double its R&D budget.
Pentax has been badly affected by the earthquake and perhaps even more by the floods in Thailand - although not as badly as its competitors. Nikon had a plant under 6' of water for over 6 months. Main impact to Pentax has been unavailability of components.
R&D has been delayed by 4 - 5 months, but they expect to catch up, and all planned new product releases for 2012 are still expected before the end of this year. (From that I conclude that R&D has been impacted by re-engineering around component availability, rather than every new product being dependent on unavailable components -lb.) So expect product announcements to come much later in the year.
Focus on the market growth is on DSLR's: compacts are all about volume, the margin per is very small.
The Amazon deal was all down to Amazon. Pentax made a contribution, as they will with any suitable promotion by a large retailer, but with retailers like Amazon there is no discussion about the final retail price. But something at the level that occurred on DA55-300, FA35 and FA50/1.4 were certainly not anticipated by Pentax. Amazon sold A LOT! They not only ran out of stock, Pentax UK also ran dry, hence the 3 waves of shipments. Prices were low enough that it made sense for Pentax dealers to buy from Amazon instead of Pentax! At around this point is sounds as if Pentax pointed out to Amazon that they were losing a significant amount of cash with each one - 'wrapping dollar bills around each one' as they say across the pond - and that someone might want to look at the otherwise fully automated pricing system. Amazon claimed that it was a system error. (Although I still wonder if it wasn't just a marketing ploy as it happens too often to be the same error re-raising itself - lb.) I was assured that Pentax didn't lose by it, their small contribution on price being more than offset by the much higher than normal volumes.
Talked some about this site. Pentax UK tends not to spend much time on any Pentax forums, mostly due to lack of time, and some disinterest in what they see as extreme conclusions drawn up for each and every small action , or non-action, taken by Pentax (or any other camera manufacturer), although they do find it funny at times. I explained that we were more focused on photography with Pentax cameras than cameras as an object per se, which seemed to strike a cord as they see their cameras very much as tools to achieve great photography with, not items just to aspire to own. I also pointed out that we were not beholden to advertising companies, nor did we have a parent commercial entity, and that we were more like a widely dispersed photographic club than most of the regular photo forums. He had already heard of us (Chris?), and promised to check out the site this week. Whether it'll go any further than that I have no idea, but clearly if we want to have influence on Pentax we'll need to leave the soothsaying and the-world-will-end-if proclamations to the other sites
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