Each year, for the past several years, camcorders have been among the largest categories of products sold in the consumer electronics market. Much of that product is sold during the fourth quarter, but even in a challenging economy there are more and more reasons for buying camcorders all year long. Reasons include becoming a first-time parent, a desire to create videos for social networking sites, going away on a vacation, or just taking advantage of exciting new camcorder features that are often introduced in the first quarter.
This year, sales of digital cameras and HD camcorders are expected to remain strong, as these products proliferate in the market and more manufacturers continue to introduce special-purpose and uniquely featured camcorder models.
Video content is the way more and more people are communicating, and that reality is expected to increase as streaming video technology continues to make it easier to upload and view video online, and social networking relies ever-more heavily on video to "connect" with audiences. As the video medium grows, so do the number of manufacturers entering this space, and so does the need to understand consumer buying habits and trends. With this in mind, www.HDCameraGuide.com sent two of their reporters to talk with sales professionals at leading retailers in the New York area, including Best Buy, PC Richards, Sixth Avenue Electronics, Walmart, and Target.
While understanding why people buy is the job of sophisticated marketing experts, much of that knowledge really resides in the minds of the salespeople at the retail level who spend their time talking with consumers each and every day. Here, then, is what they had to say:
1.) It wasn't surprising to learn that many customers have a good idea of which camcorder they want to buy after researching it on the Internet. Consumers today are better educated than they were in the past, due to sites such as HDCameraGuide.com. Before shopping, these consumers typically spend time finding out the product that suits their general needs and budgets.
2.) With products ranging in all price levels, a number of sales people indicated that there is a trend toward consumers purchasing either entry-level or sophisticated products, as opposed to mid-priced models. They explained that with the growing trend to make your own movies for YouTube, Facebook, or other personal sites, many consumers are spending at the high range for the best camera they can buy, while others who just need a camera (and aren't looking for advanced features and functionality) simply want low price.
3.) In general, novice or beginner camera buyers tended to go for the easy-to-use camcorders from Canon, Flip, Kodak, Panasonic, Sony, and others. These are typically less feature-driven products, and provide just enough of what the "starting out" or buyer on a budget needs.
4.) Several salespeople noticed that Macintosh computer users tend to stick with Canon, JVC, and Panasonic. PC users, however, have a wider range of choices when it comes to compatibility. All-in-all, however, the most frequently requested manufacturers seem to be Canon, JVC, and Panasonic, and Sony.
5.) When the consumer has no idea about what they want, salespeople ask about their intended application or primary reason for buying the camcorder. In general, however, the reason for buying the camcorder is usually known, and therefore there is less of what retailers used to call "shopping around."
6.) The importance of the salesperson's advice or opinion also depended on how much online research the consumer had already done before walking into the store. In general, if the purchase was only about price, consumers were tending toward the under-$250 camcorders. If it was about features, they wanted to see higher-end product.
7.) All of the salespeople we interviewed agreed that customers were getting smarter. They agreed that in general it was important for consumers to do research before even entering a store. There is plenty of information available on the Internet, which can help protect first-time camcorder buyers from making avoidable mistakes when purchasing a camcorder. This information also has the potential to provide the "experts" with the information they need to achieve their aspirations of becoming the "next Steven Spielberg."
8.) One of the salespeople felt that a smarter consumer made it easier for him to do his job. That's because consumers who walk into a store cold and see all the camcorder choices available often walk out overwhelmed but without a camcorder in their hands.
www.HDCameraGuide.com is the premier source for professional and consumer HD Cameras, Camcorders, Lenses, and Accessories. It's free to join. The site regularly features exclusive video interviews, product-introduction videos, a video-rich Learning Center, and a wide range of content. The site does not sell any cameras directly, but links to major retailers for online purchases.