Germany’s Leica Camera opens its first store in India
New Delhi: Leica Camera AG, the legendary high-end camera manufacturer, has opened its first store in India on Thursday.
Leica is also known for being the maker of the world’s most expensive camera—in May 2012, a Leica O-series camera made in 1923 sold for €2.1 million, or about Rs16 crore at today’s exchange rate.
In India, professional Leicas will cost up to Rs40 lakh while its ‘fun cameras’ will be available for Rs25,000. The cost of a customized or a la carte Leica could go up to any extent.
Leica, primarily known for its lenses, is among cameras preferred by professional photographers as well as dedicated amateurs.
To date, Leica had no store in India. “It took time because we did not have the capacity to feed the market. With the new factory, new processes and a little bit of supply-chain management, we have been able to improve the efficiencies of our deliveries now,” said Sunil Kaul, managing director, Leica Camera Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.
The Wetzlar, Germany-headquartered high-end camera maker, founded by Ernst Leitz in 1914, has two factories in Portugal and Germany, where it manufactures the cameras. One reason Leica is so expensive is that the company makes most of the components for each of its cameras on its own. “About 80% of components used in manufacturing an analogue Leica camera are manufactured by Leica. For digital ones, Leica makes about 60% of its parts,” added Kaul. Leica has offices in Australia, China, France, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, South Korea, UK and the USA.
For Leica, the partnered outlet in New Delhi and planned stores in Mumbai and Bengaluru will work as ‘destination centres’ and not just a point of sales. The company will open five such outlets over the next five years. In India, Leica will first bring its iconic S, SL, Q, M, V-Lux and D-Lux series.
“We are a photography company. Not just a camera maker,” said Kaul. Leica will also collaborate with India’s top designing and photography institutes to organise workshops to create brand awareness.
For Kaul, the priority is to develop the market for Leica and engage with Leica lovers through experiential workshops by Leica Akademie that educates Leica users. The company will target prospects which fall into category of photographers and artists who mostly live in metro cities.
Kaul is not looking for a sales number to drive revenue. “Leica still makes film cameras even today, which is rare,” added Kaul. Globally, camera makers have long moved from making manual film cameras. Even today, Leica manufactures 1,000 units of manual film camera, most of which are on demand and about 70% of the demand comes from Asian markets.
The growth of smartphones in recent years has sharply eaten into the compact or point-and-shoot camera market in India and globally. “We are still witnessing growth even in that segment,” Kaul said.
The camera market in India, however, is growing. According to a report by research firm TechSci Research, it was estimated to reach $3 billion by 2017 growing at 27% compounded annual rate during the past five years.