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Dr Alok Bharadwaj

Senior Vice President | 13 Dec 2013

Approximately 10 million consumer homes are consuming content electronically; despite this, the imaging part is still very traditional. There is a need for printers to be smart as well. In fact, almost 30 per cent of our printer market can move to cloud printing since consumers are now storing their vital information on online services.

Dr Alok Bharadwaj is Executive Vice President, Canon India. Under his leadership, Canon has registered a record-breaking expansion of 20 times in 12 years to emerge as a strong imaging industry leader in India. Bharadwaj is an MBA from the FMS, Delhi and an alumni of Executive Program of IMD Lausanne. He has also worked with brands such as Motorola India, Usha International and Voltas.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Priyanka Mehra, Bharadwaj speaks about the growth of the printer market in India, smart phones cannibalising the compact camera and emergence of cloud-enabled products.

Q. How has the growth in digital impacted the camera industry?

The camera industry has been quite a reconfigured industry this year, two broad patterns that we have noticed are: firstly, since the need of photography is more of capturing and sharing instantly, compact cameras have been kind of cannibalised by smart phones. The second pattern is healthy and good news, that the digital SLR category is more aspirational for people, more than last year. Digital SLR has become two-third of our business, while compact has become one-third, whereas both were divided equally last year.

This means we will begin to see a lot more traction for digital SLR. Compact cameras will have some struggle, but still the segment with strong functionality of compact cameras will continue to grow, such as higher frame per second and low light photography.

Q. How has 2013 been for Canon? The year saw markedly lesser spends in the festive season as compared to last year…

We have grown 25 per cent this year. In line with the configuration of the camera industry, our compact camera spends were reduced and we shifted our spends to digital SLR. However, our overall spends have remained the same.

Q. How are you reaching out to your target audience for your latest offering – Cloud-enabled next-gen inkjet printers for digitally connected Indian homes?

The inkjet printers that we have recently launched are targeted at the techie home market. We are definitely looking at the top five million households in India. We are resorting to digital campaigns, using social media, out-reach programmes in malls – this is not a mass market. Cloud-enabled products like this will be taken by early adopters, who are strong service engagements.

Q. You had earlier said that printers have shifted from office to home…

Office to home means earlier whichever office you go to, gave you a printout. For example, if you went to the bank, you got the bank statement, you would get a printout of the premium receipt at the insurance company. Today, all of them email them, which is good as people can store them. The human psyche, particularly where money is involved, is to retain a hard copy. Almost 30 per cent of our printer market can move to cloud printing.

Q. Do you believe the consumers are printing less?

I believe that the same amount of printing is happening, however, consumers are printing different things as revealed by the sales of our cartridges. The industry has sold 10 per cent more cartridges than last year, so how can printing become less. It is enterprise printing that has gone down due to targeted cost cutting. But new requirements are emerging.

Q. What are some of the trends that you have observed with increased usage of digital?

Approximately 10 million consumer homes are consuming content electronically; despite this, the imaging part is still very traditional. There is a need for printers to be smart as well. In fact, almost 30 per cent of our printer market can move to cloud printing since consumers are now storing their vital information on online services.

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