Invested quite a bit of time to delve and figure number of photographers in India. Very difficult in absence of any photographers association with long term record.
A general trend, in the States 50%+ photogs are independent and similar number is employed as staff in newspapers, media, magazine etc. Numbers in latter category have reduced over last 10 years due to internet overtaking print media.
In the US there are abundant photographers’ associations. Estimates are between 100,000 – 150,000 photographers in the US, its population is 300 million. Numbers have not grown for the past 10 years. We like no growth industries. This works out to ratio of 1:2000 – 1:3000, Photographer : Population ratio. Assume, that for India this ratio is still low, although I doubt, at 1 photographer for 5000 citizens. This works out to over 240 000 photographers in India.
Trend of media employed photographers is reducing, and self employed wedding, niche, corporate, fashion photography is increasing.
As per my calculations only 1000 Photogs bought Elinchrom equipment last year ( 1000 photogs/studio * 1 lac Rs per gear = 10 crore Rs, + 3 crore in replacement market = 13 crore) from target audience of 240, 000. That too low end basic gear. Paraphernalia and accessories have still not been in great demand, nor the high end gear, though rising as per annual report. They’re ready and waiting on purchasing power and demand to rise. Once base is established then upgrades and plenty of accessories are needed each year, there are dozens of light shapers and soft boxes each between 10 – 80,000 Rs one can add on.
Couple more observations from latest annual report downloaded from reportjunction.com available since 21st of October are:
a) Company is reducing none core business like trading in camera, tripods, print and focussing on Elinchrom
b) Now Pause. Rejoice. Domestic demand grew by 51%. Domestic topline grew from 8.72 Crores to 13.2 Crores from 2009 to 2010.
c) Exports also keeping up momentum from 27 Crores in FY 09 to 33 Crore in FY 2010.
Fresh Photogs graduating from Film and Photography Institutes will buy professional gear unlike previous generation wedding photographers. Those considering Photography as part time profession are likely to spend 1 lac Rs and buy a softbox rather than building one like this –> http://www.thephotographer.in/darkroom/showthread.php?t=94
In above calculation of 240,000+ I have calculated only Still Photography professionals and have ignored film industry which is far bigger and that uses some Elinchrom products like continuous lights. Each market is different and rental network is an awesome business model too. Anyone reading this and passionate about photography should consider equipment rentals in metro cities in India, its going to make money.
To sum, India is showing signs being a growth driver in this recession resistant, price inelastic business. Keep tabs for next 4 quarters and watchout for economies of scale. Huge market is un penetrated and only 10,000 out of 240,000+ photogs are using proper gear in India.