Analysis: A Snapshot of Demand for Photography Gear

It’s hard to think of too many inventions that have had a greater impact on history than the camera. Between people snapping and posting shots from their phones, to professionals painstakingly setting up the perfect shot, countless photographs are snapped every year.

June 29th marks National Camera Day, a day when Americans are encouraged to celebrate by taking pictures and sharing them with the world, but we thought we’d celebrate by doing what we do best: diving into some data to learn more about online demand for cameras.

When is demand for cameras highest? Which types of cameras are the biggest sellers? Did COVID-19 impact online demand for cameras? Keep reading as we look to answer these questions and more.

When is online demand for cameras typically highest?

To understand online demand for cameras, we started by analyzing when people were searching for the term “camera” on Amazon every day in 2019 and 2020. We then combined total demand for each month of both of those years to see if a seasonal pattern emerged.

Demand for cameras across the past two years was definitely highest during the summer months, when people are more likely to be traveling, heading outdoors, and looking for a nice camera to capture their summer adventures.

November was the second biggest single month, even edging out December, which suggests people are slightly more likely to buy a camera to take pictures during the holidays instead of buying a camera as a last-minute holiday gift.

The sluggish demand during the spring months was surprising, and we immediately wondered if this was the result of COVID-19’s impact in 2020. So of course we had to dig deeper.

How did COVID-19 impact online demand for cameras?

Next we took a much closer look at 2020, examining when people were searching for the term “camera” for each week of the year.

Here we see clear evidence that COVID-19 had a significant impact on online demand for cameras.

Demand began to dip as early as late February, bottoming out during the week of March 15th as Americans began sheltering in place and practicing social distancing.

Demand began to recover in the springtime, but remained low even throughout the summer, only exceeding January’s levels during the height of the holiday shopping season. This suggests that COVID-19 depressed online demand for cameras throughout the year, as people were far less likely to be out traveling, adventuring, or getting together for big events and gatherings.

We can see an even clearer picture of this long-term impact when we compare monthly demand from January 2019 through April 2021:

In 2019, demand climbed steadily from March through June, then skyrocketing in July. This chart shows just how devastating last year’s slow summer was on online demand for cameras.

The good news is that it appears this year we may be on track for a return to more normal trends. Demand in 2021 has been at or above 2019’s levels for every month so far. It will be interesting to see if we see any evidence of pent-up demand as we proceed into summer and Americans start to head back out on summer adventures this year.

Which types and brands of cameras are the most popular?

The most popular camera in the world right now is easily the smartphone, but that doesn’t mean that all other cameras have become obsolete. Quite the contrary. From photo sharing apps to video and streaming platforms, quality photography equipment is still extremely popular.

So we next wanted to dive even deeper into our data by examining online demand for different types of cameras and some of the most popular camera brands.

First, let’s take a quick look at three of the major types of cameras: digital, film, and instant, starting with total combined demand from January 2019 through April this year.

As you might expect, digital cameras reign supreme, but film and instant cameras still maintain relatively strong niche demand.

Now let’s take a look at the major camera brands.

Canon was easily the most popular brand in our analysis, but at a surprisingly strong second place was Polaroid, which saw only 20% less demand than Canon.

From there we have a somewhat steeper drop to third place Sony and fourth place Nikon, who are the other two major players along with Canon in the higher-end digital camera space.

COVID-19 impacted some types and brands of cameras differently than others

Lastly, we wanted to take a closer look at these different brands and types of cameras to see if seasonal trends differed, and how COVID-19 may have impacted those individual trends.

To do this, we examined some of the major brands individually, comparing demand for each month from January 2019 through April of this year.

Let’s start with Canon, the most popular of the brands in our analysis:

In 2019, a “typical” year, demand for Canon cameras was highest during the summer and the holiday shopping seasons. As you can see, COVID-19 had a clear impact on demand in March of last year, although it appears demand for Canon cameras recovered to above-normal figures in May.

That recovery appears to have been short-lived, with Canon experiencing diminished demand through the summer. There was an unusual spike in October, but it appears to have been isolated, as demand fell again over the holidays and has been below 2019’s figures for each month so far this year.

Next up, Polaroid:

Polaroid cameras rely heavily on holiday sales, as demand in November and December doubles the monthly average during the rest of the year.

Demand was down throughout the year in 2020, starting with a modest dip in March that continued with demand staying below 2019’s figures through the rest of the year.

Things appear to be back to normal for Polaroid, though, as monthly demand in 2021 has been nearly identical to 2019.

Let’s now take a quick look at our third most popular camera brand.

Sony’s compact mirrorless cameras make them a popular mid-range travel camera, which is evidenced by its peaking demand in the summertime during a “normal” year. As you might expect, then, COVID appears to have had a major impact on demand for Sony cameras last year.

Once again, demand dipped in March and stayed below 2019’s figures for the rest of the year. 2021 has seen demand rebound slightly above last year’s, but fail to recover to 2019 so far. We’ll have to wait and see if this summer brings better news for Sony cameras.

Lastly, we wanted to highlight one type of camera that has bucked all the trends so far. Film cameras, once thought to be going the way of the dinosaur, appear to be only growing in popularity.

Not only did demand for film cameras appear to be unaffected by COVID-19, it actually increased from 2019 to 2020 in every single month of the year.

That trend only seems to be getting stronger in 2021. Demand for film cameras in April 2021 was 61% higher than in April 2020 and 90% higher than in April 2019. If 2021 follows typical seasonal trends, we should expect to see demand for film cameras only continue to climb.

While certainly still a niche product, there’s clear evidence that it’s a growing one.

A lesson for brands

Our data shows that COVID-19 had a definite impact on online demand for all types of cameras. It also showed us that the biggest time for online demand for cameras this year is still ahead of us, and we could very well see a significant rebound this summer and holiday season.

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.

To stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights on the right.

And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, schedule a demo today.

Explore Our Ecommerce Resource Library

Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.

Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)
Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.

Sept 15, 2022

The 3 Tmall Metrics That Every Brand Needs to Know

If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.

At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.

What is Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR)?

Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.

Why DSR Determines Success on Tmall

DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.

Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.

DSR Score Elements

1. Service

Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.

So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.

2. Delivery

Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.

So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.

3. Content

As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.

The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).

Expand Internationally With Pattern

As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter. 

It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.

Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.