Photography Equipment and Photographic Supplies are one of the top ten categories
of items imported from China into the United States in 2010 according to the US-China
Business Council. The Photography Equipment and Photographic Supplies market is
alive within the United States and around the world due to the rapid changes in technology
for the photography industry.
Remember film? Film cameras along with record players have essentially ended up
in the technology graveyard. Today's generation has grown up in the era of digital
imaging and computer storage of digital images. There are many other options of storing
one's favorite photographs beyond film and paper.
Ever since the introduction of the digital cameras in the 1990's, the prices of such
cameras have steadily declined over the years while the quality has improved at the
same time. Consumers jumped at the chance of switching to digital imaging technology
away from the old fashion film and chemical based system.
The digital cameras allowed the consumers to know instantly whether they took the
perfect shot. With film cameras, they had to wait for hours or days only to find
that all their baby pictures were blurry. Consumers also loved the digital storage
of pictures. Literally thousands of pictures can be stored on a flash drive today.
Flimsy paper storage of pictures from film cameras were stuffed in books, boxes,
drawers and scrapbooks. You can easily carry 2,000 digital pictures in your pocket.
It will be overwhelming to the family photographer to manage and organize the same
2,000 pictures on paper.
The retail sale of Photography Equipment and Photographic Supplies is a multibillion
dollar industry that is divide into two categories:
Photo finishing is the service side. Even though this segment has declined over
the years due to decline in film sales, it is still a multibillion dollar segment.
A digital photographer still has a need to print his or her favorite pictures on
paper for those special occasions.
The other segment is the Photography Equipment and Photographic Supplies. This segment
is hot due to consumers’ desire to upgrade their digital cameras in the same manner
that they purchase new home computers every several years.
The Photography Equipment Purchaser
Consumers of Photography Equipment tend to have the following demographics within
the United States:
Women are slightly more likely to buy Photography Equipment or Photographic Supplies.
It is common for the mom of the household to purchase the family digital camera
while the dad figures out how to use it.
The category is also purchased by all age groups with the exception of the most aged.
White households tend to purchase more Photography Equipment than black or Hispanic
As household income and education levels go up, the purchase of Photography Equipment
There is also a higher incidence of Photography Equipment purchases in households
with children. All parents want pictures of their children growing up.
Photography Equipment Retailing
The retailing of Photography Equipment has been fierce as mass merchandisers, national
electronic chains and internet retailers compete against each other.
The specialty retailer of Photography Equipment and Photographic Supplies has essentially
been wiped out similar to so many other industries. Gone are the days of the "mom
and pop" photography stores.
In fact, there is only one store today, Ritz Camera Centers that can claim to be
a national specialty retailer of Photography Equipment and Photographic Supplies.
Ritz had about 1,000 stores for years competing against Wolf Cameras with about 500
The competition was truly a family feud because the two specialty chains were owned
by two family cousins: David Ritz of Ritz Camera Centers and Chuck Wolf of Wolf Camera.
The years of family feud finally ended when David Ritz rescued his cousin's Wolf
Camera chain from bankruptcy for an estimated $85 million acquisition deal in 2001.
The vast and ever changing Photography Equipment market provides many import from
China opportunities. Everything from disposable digital cameras to digital picture
frames can be imported from China.
Once you identified the opportunity, the rules and regulations for importing Photography
Equipment and Photographic Supplies into the United States are outlined under Chapters
37 and 90 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.
Chapter 37 covers photographic film, paper, plates, other media, motion picture film
and chemical preparations for photographic uses. Cameras and photographic equipment
are outlined in the schedule's chapter 90. Specific tariffs for Photography Equipment
as an import from China product can be found here.