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Perspectives from India

Brand India is seen as aspirational and hope for the new world

Brand India is seen as aspirational and hope for the new world

Alok Bharadwaj, Executive Vice President, Canon India

May 23, 2014 3:23 PM

Canon is known as one of the best in the imaging industry globally. Alok Bharadwaj, Executive Vice President, Canon India shares his views on the imaging market in India and the growth plans for the company in an exclusive interaction with India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF).

What is the current market size of imaging market in India?

Indian imaging industry is quite sizable with tremendous growth potential. There are two parts to it. First part is the Image capturing industry which comprises of digital cameras, Digital SLR, cinematography, broadcasting cameras, lenses and accessories. It is around Rs 4,000 crore industry. This part of industry is undergoing internal reconfiguration. Compact camera industry is giving way to Digital SLR as more and more photo enthusiasts are aspiring to buy better products. Total of 3.2 lacs of Digital SLR are sold in India in a year with an expected annual growth at 25%. There is enormous potential as China is already 10 times bigger with 3 million units a year. Household penetration is a good indicator of market potential. As of now India has HH penetration of only 5%, presenting a huge canvass for the industry.

Second part of imaging industry is the image creation & peripherals. This comprises of printing, copiers, scanners, fax machines, multifunctional devices and commercial printing equipment & commercial photo and printing services. This is around Rs 12,000 crore. This part of industry is growing at around 10% with some categories growing a lot faster. Managed services, digitisation & digital commercial printing are driving this market.

In the industry, most of the players are international brands and the No. 1 player has a substantially high market share. Canon is a leading player in copier multifunctional and DSLR category. Similarly HP is a leading brand in printing devices.

Canon has been present in India for over a decade now. How has been your journey so far and what are the future plans?

Canon is a 17 year old company in India. It has had high growth period during the last 5 years. In 2009 it was 842 crores company and will be 2100 crores in 2014. This is 2.5 times in 5 years. During the last 17 years, Canon introduced different categories of products and entered into several new domains to emerge as a complete digital imaging company in India. Canon has staff strength of over 1000 people, which also doubled in the last 5 years. There are 464 dealers and over 3000 reseller & retail points. A new retail format, called the ‘Canon Image Square’ has attracted a lot of fancy of the industry. Under this format, there are 110 stores in 56 cities. Canon has also launched an EOS Academy which is a photography training & knowledge centre that organises workshops and special photo experience walks and tours. 50 % of the Canon business comes from B2B segment and 50% from B2C segment.

The future plan is to build stronger new domains of business services, commercial photo albums, medical imaging and cinematography. Canon is looking at growing at 20% during the next three years with the retail brand stores ‘Canon Image Square’ reaching 300 stores by 2015.

What are your views on Brand India and its importance for the world today?

Talking about Brand India, we can see it from the prism of how ‘Nation brands’ are perceived. Broadly speaking India’s brand has undergone re-positioning. Post millennium year, IT industry, ITeS, BPO and call centre boom has lifted India brand to a different orbit. People may hate or love India brand but cannot ignore it anymore. In fact, there are more nations in the world wanting India to succeed and grow than those who don’t. With a US$ 2 trillion economy and third largest from purchase parity perspective, it is indeed an important brand today. However, like any other nation brand, ‘India Brand’ too, have a variety of attributes.

Let’s look at Brand India from different prismatic attributes viz. people, government and visible assets. For the target audience outside India, Indian people are seen as highly knowledgeable, having high IQ & EQ, strong analytical mind, hardworking, entrepreneurial with high cultural sensitivity. This is indeed a good Brand India attribute. Few of global Indian leaders have added steroids to this brand attribute.

From Government and leadership perspective, India is seen as slow, archaic policies, fragmented leadership, not keen on reforms, loves status co, high corruption, uncertain in policies with high in-fighting, selfish political ambitions & thinking of today and not tomorrow.

Thirdly from visible assets perspective, India is seen as a country with poor infrastructure, low human quality parameters, strong and transparent media, strong judicial mechanism, strong private sector, highly diverse social strata & poor gender equality.

Lastly in any brand discussion, argument would be incomplete if we do not bring in the dimension of aspiration and hope. Brand India is seen as aspirational and hope for the new world.

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