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Olympus to handle after-sales service in Thailand itself

OLYMPUS announced yesterday that it would take over after-sales service from Jebsen & Jessen from April 1, as the Japanese camera maker looks to double its share of the Thailand market to 16 per cent this year.

Olympus took over the sales and marketing responsibilities in Thailand from Jebsen & Jessen two years ago but it left the after-sales and repair functions under the care of the former distributor.

Shinsho Ikeda, director and division manager for imaging products at Olympus (Thailand), said the company had to improve the quality of its repair and call-centre operations. The centres would no longer just answer calls from customers, but would also track clients and targeted groups, and using the information to improving the business.

Furthermore, since Olympus will take care of after-sales service itself, all service provisions must comply with Olympus standards. "And that's why I believe we can improve overall service," he said.

Ikeda said that because of political and economic uncertainties, camera sales were likely to post a decline of about 5-10 per cent for the first two months of 2014, normally a high-sales season, but he hoped the overall market would recover and end the year with a flat growth rate.

The mirrorless-camera segment, nevertheless, is expected to continue to grow, accounting for 43.6 per cent of the total interchangeable-lens camera market this year, compared with 30.6 per cent in 2013 and 24.1 per cent in 2012. The company forecasts sales of mirrorless cameras to surpass digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras in Thailand next year, following a similar trend in Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Olympus targets doubling its volume share of Thailand's interchangeable-lens camera market from 8.2 per cent to 16 per cent this year, narrowing its gap with Canon and Nikon, which command the largest shares. By value, Olympus aims to have local market share of 13 per cent this year.

But Olympus expects to widen its lead in the mirrorless segment through expanding its market share (by value) to 42 per cent this year, up from 30 per cent in 2013.

Marketing manager Patinee Leinghirungul said sales of compact digital cameras were expected to shrink by 50 per cent this year, after falling by 40 per cent in 2013. Olympus has abandoned the low end and is focusing on the medium and upper-end segments of the compact-camera sector, that is, those priced above Bt5,000.

The Olympus executives were speaking at a media event to introduce a range of new products, including its newest mirrorless camera OM-D E-M10 (Bt24,990 for body only); the Stylus SP-100 EE, the world's first digital camera that comes up with built-in dot sight (Bt15,990); the "water-proof, dust-proof, shock-proof, frozen-proof, and crush-proof" Stylus Tough TG-850 (Bt12,990); the OM-D E-M5 Elite Black, a minor change version of its best-selling OM-D E-M5 camera (Bt52,990 with the 12-40 mm f2.8 Pro len); and a few new lens.


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