Casio Computer (TYO:6952)

QUOTE AND NEWS
Japan Today  Jan 7  Comment 
Casio Computer Co Ltd announced Tuesday that its recently established subsidiary in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Casio Malaysia Sdn Bhd, has begun sales and marketing activities, seeking to expand Casio’s business in the ASEAN region. Casio began...
Japan Today  Dec 16  Comment 
Casio Computer Co Ltd on Monday announced that it will integrate its sales activities in China, which are currently conducted by two companies, into a single company in order to further expand its business in the country. The new company will be...
Sydney Morning Herald  Aug 28  Comment 
Tokyo: Clunky? Perhaps. Geeky? Absolutely. But for three decades Casio Computer's G-Shock line of digital watches has dominated a small, yet lucrative, market.     
Cloud Computing  Jan 8  Comment 
LAS VEGAS , Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Casio America , Inc. and its parent company, Casio Computer Co., Ltd., today announced plans to revolutionize storefront advertising by launching a new digital signage business at the end of this month....




 
TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Business overview

Casio is a multinational personal electronics manufacturing company based out of Shibuya, Japan.

The Economics of the Business

Products

Casio manufactures and sells Digital Cameras, Watches, Mobile Phones, Electronic Dictionaries, Label and Disk Title Printers, Industrial Devices, Musical Instruments, Projectors, Cash Registers, Point of Sale Devices, and Electronic Components.[1]Mobile Network Solutions (MNS), which include mobile phones and computing devices make up the largest component of Casio's most recent sales figures but the largest single product that they offer is their watch line. Casio's time pieces have grown from 12% of sales to 18% of sales in just the past 5 years. This is the most significant growth by any of their product lines. The only other product that had a significant change was the sale of electronic components. In the same time period, these have shrunk from 14% of sales to only 5%, A sign that Casio may be leaving this market.

Image:Sales_mix2.png Image:%_of_Sales_by_Year2.png[2]

By selling the diverse product line that they do, Casio benefits from economies of scale. Because their products are all in the personal electronics category, Casio is able to profit off of their core competency of electronic expertise in not just a single product line, but through a diverse product offering. This gives them a number of benefits. One benefit is that when Casio orders electronic components for its products it is able to place extremely large orders, giving them a discount on the per unit cost. An example of this is that some of the same components found in a Casio keyboard can be found in a Casio personal calculator. This enables them to cut down on parts costs. Assembly costs are also reduced because their plants have the capability of producing more than a single product. This also gives them the benefit of production flexibility. If one product is in higher demand than the other, they can simply choose to produce more of the popular good, in order to meet demand. Their products are also able to benefit off of the same research and development investment. For example, Casio has released a waterproof phone that uses technology that Casio developed for the G-Shock watch series. Another example of this is through mobile network solution investment. Casio has deeply invested in R & D for this category. These advances will be applied not only to Casio’s personal computers, but also their phone line and potentially even their watch line. Casio's watches have benefited from Casio’s wide array of R&D. They have developed watches that come equipped with GPS service, act as a calculator, serve as a data storage device, and even control your TV. These are just several examples of how Casio is able to use the technology that it invents to improve each and every one of its devices. Casio's product line up gives it distinct advantages and economies of scale that companies in each of these individual markets can only dream of.

Price

Casio prices all of its products at a competitive rate. They offer products at the low and high end in each of their respective segments. They have cameras that start at $129 and go up to around $300. There are high-end cameras that are much more expensive than this but this is the normal range for the average digital camera. Their calculators and cash registers start out with basic functions and models but have high-end alternatives that cost considerably more. The same goes for their music instruments, projectors, label makers, and phones. G-Shock watches are reasonably priced for the value that they add to the consumer. Watch prices range from $10 to over $1 Million. G-Shocks start at $99, with most models priced under $200. This is very reasonable. They do have limited edition watches that run slightly high but they are not directly competing with the very high-end watches like Rolex and they are not directly competing with the very low watch models that you will find at a retailer like Target or Walmart. G-Shocks are a product for young consumers with disposable income that are looking to standout from their peers.

Place

Casio offers its products through online sale ShopCasio . This makes it easy to order any of the Casio products without having to drive to a retail location. Casio products are also offered at the major electronic retail stores as well as department stores. This gives them a presence in the physical marketplace as well as the virtual. When most people buy gifts for relatives, they may walk around the mall. Having a presence where indecisive shoppers are can be key. The purchasers of Casio products may be unaware of the product they will end up buying, until they see it in the store. Casio is distributed by the retailing giants Macy's, Sears, and Best Buy.

Promotion

Casio has invested in various television and magazine adds but these are relatively minimal. They have advertised for their cameras and keyboards on TV in the past but no longer continue this strategy. Most people who buy these products will make the decision to purchase these more expensive products after doing their own research, whether it's in store or online. Casio does still run magazine ads for their G-Shock watch series but this is only in fashion magazines or outdoor magazines. This is to directly target the G-Shock market, those who wear it because they are fashionable and those who wear it because of its functionality. Casio's G-Shock watch brand has been a stylistic icon since its release in the early 1990's. In 2008, Casio launched the SHOCK THE WORLD tour.[3] These are parties that bring together the who's who in fashion and music, for a night a celebrating art, music, and G-Shocks. Casio uses these events to introduce their new products to the market in a fun and cool way. Last years stop on the New York tour was attended by Donald and Ivanka Trump, Erykah Bedu, Russel Simmons, Common, and featured a performance by Kanye West. Selecting an artist such as Kanye West, who is well known for his fashion sense, to promote your product can be a highly effective marketing technique. Nothing is more celebrated in rap culture than exclusive fashion. If you can get one rapper to endorse your product, other artists and listeners will follow. The music itself turns into free promotion. Many artists have made references to G-Shock watches in their rap songs, including:

Big Sean ft. Chip Tha Ripper - Okay "We just hop on planes and change the time... so let me set me G shock Sean tell them my state of mind"

Bow Wow ft. Soulja Boy - Marco Polo "New g-shock(check) Yellow Lamborghini(bow) Bc shirt with a fresh pair of jeans (wow) Black card spending when I hit the mall (stunting) You can't catch me I'm so ahead of ya'll (it's)"

You can't buy the type of free promotion that Casio is receiving from these artists. Not only are they advertising that they endorse G-Shocks, but they are making it a part of a glamorized life style. The average person who listens to rap music is not able to afford Lamborghinis or elaborate trips but they may be able to afford a $100 watch. For them this may be the closest that they are able to come to this life style. No other watch brand has ever had this type of endorsement other than Rolex, but Rolex and Casio aren't competing for the same consumer base. This gives them a huge advantage over any of the other watch companies in their price range.

Collaborations

The G-Shock watch series has been around for almost two decades but it stays relevant with updated models each year. G-Shock has come out with numerous, high-end collaborations. These models are pricier and are limited in number. This level of exclusivity helps to build up demand. G-Shock has come out with collaborations with BAPE, KRINK, BURN RUBBER SNEAKER BOUTIQUE, AIR JORDAN, and LRG, to name a few. G-Shock has also collaborated with celebrities including SPIKE LEE, METHOD MAN, and ERIC HAZE to give them each signature models. By collaborating with these well loved clothing brands and celebrities, G-Shock continues to offer fresh products and gains more awareness, piggy backing off of the influence that these collaborators have over consumers.

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Porter’s 5-Forces Analysis

Supplier Power

The tsunami in Japan has limited the ability of many of the tech industry suppliers, located there, from being able to supply the consumer electronics industry giants. Casio is lucky that only one of their suppliers were affected but fewer parts suppliers means greater supplier power, as Japan recovers from the effects of the tsunami and the following aftershock earth quakes. This means higher component costs for all companies in the tech industry, whether these will be absorbed by production companies or passed along to consumers remains to be seen.

Buyer Power

Buyers hold a large amount of power over Casio. This is true for most companies in the consumer electronics market. This industry has an intense competitive rivalry among the major players. This competition means that the buyers have many options to choose from. Most of the goods in the consumer electronics market are made by at least 5 different companies and these companies' models happen to be very similar, if not interchangeable. This leads to very low customer loyalty. Consumers want electronic goods that are able to meet their needs at a competitive price.

Competitive Rivalry

The competitive rivaly that Casio faces in the consumer electronics market is steep. Competitors such as Sony, Toshiba, and other large electronics companies offer products in many of the categories that Casio does. The consumer electronics market is always facing the pressure of developing new: cheaper, smaller, and lighter technology. This forces Casio to invest in research and development, in order to remain at the forefront of their industry. Casio has a research and development center in San Jose California, strategically located near Silicon Valley, that "explores new product concepts, strategic directions, and business opportunities for Casio". They feel that by having a research center in Silicon Valley, they will be able to work with computer and internet experts to further develop their future product.[[4]

Threat of Substitutes

Casio faces extreme competition within the consumer electronics market but that being said, there aren't many substitutes for the products in this market.

Digital Cameras - Over the past decade, most consumers have been switching over from traditional film cameras to the digital market. Consumers like the high picture quality and instant gratification of being able to see the picture that they take. Traditional cameras do not have this advantage because the film takes time, money, and effort to develop. Personal cameras may be fading in popularity with the growth of cameras in phones but this also a market that Casio competes in.

Cell Phones- Home phones are dying out almost as fast as payphones. The majority of people are switching over to using a single cell phone and not paying for a landline. Granted, people could communicate using ground or email, but there is no substitute for the immediate response and personal touch of a phone call.

Electronic Calculator- People may use the calculator function on their computer but this can be very limiting and I don't know anyone who still uses and an abacus.

Electronic Dictionaries - This has the most serious threat of substitute. People have the option of both traditional book dictionaries and the more popular online dictionaries.

Electronic Label Makers - Unless you are operating a small business, most people simply label things with a marker. This has a high threat of substitutes. I do not think that this will be a shrinking market however, because all of the substitutes for electronic label makers have been around before electronic label makers were invented.

Electronic Keyboards - face the substitute threat from traditional pianos. However, keyboards do have several nice features such as recording, sound effects, and a built in metronome, that traditional pianos do not.

Watches - Casio's G-shock watch series face competition from the non-electronic watch market. Lately, G-Shock's have become somewhat of a fashion accessory and may face competition from more traditional forms of jewelry.

Cash Registers and Industrial Services - Some stores may use non-electronic cash registers as a novelty but almost all now use them. There is no other substitute.

Threat of New Entrants

Casio has a limited threat of new entrants. It is no easy feat to start an electronics company. It requires extremely advanced engineering knowledge and a substantial financial investment.

Supply Chain Management

Multiple Production Centers

Casio has been extremely smart in creating a flexible supply chain. Casio maintains at least two different production centers for the majority of its products.[5] Each of these production centers are equipped with excess capacity in the event that something were to happen to the other production center. Having a flexible supply chain allows them to hedge the risk of disruption at any given production site. This has proven to be incredibly important, in light of the recent tsunami that has struck Japan. Casio even has a risk management committee who'd job it is to set Risk level policies and goals that will be implemented throughout the company.

Corporate Governance

Casio has a corporate governance structure in place, in order to ensure that all management decisions are made quickly and properly. Casio also aims for transparency in all of its decisions. In June 1999, Casio adopted a corporate officer system that clearly separates the management oversight and execution functions. They set up an oversight board that is responsible for making important policy decisions that aid in daily operations. There are also internal and external auditors that aid in decision making and make sure that these decisions comply with corporate policy. They have internal audit accounting officers who give recommendations for policy improvement. They also have a committee for corporate social responsibility, whose job it is to ensure that they are not harming the community that they operate in. This may seem like an extremely redundant management strategy but they feel that by properly managing their work force, they will be able to produce the optimal level of "Creativity and Contribution".

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Supplier Relationships

Casio aims to build long lasting relationships with its suppliers. They work together to develop technologies mutually, through reciprocal efforts. Casio monitors its relationships with suppliers based on compliance with laws and social norms, environmental protection, proper information security, respect for intellectual property, sound and stable corporate management, superior technological development ability, right price and quality, stable supply capabilities and electronic transaction systems.[6] In order to avoid conflicts of interest, Casio employees are not allowed to have relationships with suppliers. Casio works with multiple suppliers to ensure a fair price and to ensure a steady, uninterrupted, flow of components.

Financial and Operating Metrics

  • Financial metrics in millions of Yen

Image:Casiofiscal.png

Casio has seen a drastic fall in sales over the past two years. In 2008, Casio had net sales of 620,769 but by 2010 they had fallen to 427,925(in millions of Yen). Sales are down across the board, in each of Casio's product segments. Sales peaked for each of the companies segments in either fiscal year 2007 or 2008. The decrease in sales is likely due to the economic recession that occurred in 2008. Consumers worldwide were hurt by this global recession. This caused a huge problem for Casio as consumer electronics and new watches are typically the first purchases cut during hard times. Consumers simply didn't have the disposable income to spend on "gadgets". This is an industry that is extremely correlated with market performance as a whole. Casio remains a market leader in the consumer electronic industry so as the economy rebounds, so too should Casio's profits.

Comparison with Competitors

Casio has several major competitors in the consumer electronics business. There is no company that offers the exact product line that Casio does but the major consumer electronics companies have product offerings that are very similar. It is common for electronics companies to offer digital cameras, mobile phones, and projectors the way that Casio does. However, other major electronics companies tend to be more invested in tablets and televisions. Casio does not sell these products but they sell watches and calculators, which most electronics companies do not. Casio does offer personal computing devices that can stream to the Internet but these are extremely simple, striped down model, laptops when compared with the computing capacity of a regular laptop. These products are not even offered in the American market. As you can see from the data below, all of the major players in this industry have been affected by the current recession.

Sony- Is a consumer electronics producer based out of Japan. They offer computers, cameras, televisions, home theater systems, play station products, mp3 players, digital book readers, and mobile phones. They compete against Casio in the Camera and mobile phone market but are much more concentrated in the television and entertainment industry than Casio is. Sony offers products that most consumers purchase, where Casio's products tend to be in more than a niche market. Not everyone needs a scientific calculator or a cash register, but most people will purchase a TV. This aspect gives Sony much larger sales volumes than Casio. Sony has had the strongest ROE over the past three years, of all of the Consumer electronics companies. This shows that they have been managing their assets well and that they are making the right decisions. Sony has long been the consumer electronics company to beat, and this data shows that they are still doing well. They have a relatively lower Asset Turnover Margin, when compared to Casio but this is because their products have a higher retail value. This means that on the Assets that they do sell, they have a higher profit margin. This can be seen in their higher operating margin.

Toshiba - Is another consumer electronics producer based out of Japan. They offer laptops, Televisions and TV accessories, HD Camcorders, LED lighting, as well as an extensive line of business products, ranging from printers to surveillance cameras. They also offer industrial products, such as batteries and small motors. Toshiba is comparable to the size of Sony, also much larger than Casio. Toshiba had a middle of the market 2008, a terrible 2009, but they were able to bounce back in 2010.

Casio - had an all time sales peak in 2008 but since then, sales have fallen 31% in the past two years. This can be atributed to the recession but their competitors have started to bounce back in 2010, while Casio has continued to do worse. As the economy improves, Casio's sales should start to bounce back. The reason that Casio has been so badly hurt by the recession is that their products are seen as "Gadgets", cool toys, but nothing that anyone deems necessary. Toshiba and Sony offer products that people view as more important to their daily lives, such as TV’s and laptops. People value their work and cheep entertainment in hard times and TV's and laptops are key to these. In this case, Casio's product line hurts them, in comparison to their competitors. It is not until consumers are feeling more confident in their income that Casio's sales will return. Casio had the highest Asset turnover ratio in 2008 but it has since fallen to the lowest. Casio's products have a lower markup than Sony and Toshiba's so Casio relies on a high asset turnover ratio, in order to remain profitable. This business model has hurt them in the short term, now that sales are down.

Human Resources

Philosophy - Casio has always had a policy of meeting societies needs by developing truly innovative products. They refer to it as the going from 0 to 1 approach. By developing truly unique products you are able to astonish and inspire people, starting new trends, revitalize industries, and contribute to culture. This started in the 1950's when Toshio Kashio invented the first personal electronic calculator. This policy allows them to add value to shareholders and society as a whole.[9]

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SWOT Analysis

Strength - Casio has the strength of unique product offerings. No one else makes watches or phones that are comparable to what Casio offers. They create truly unique and inspiring products. Another strength that Casio has is the founding Kashio brothers. They have brought inspiration and vision to this company for the past 50 years. However, these brothers are getting older. One has already passed away but fortunately, Casio has been able to absorb the mindset of these founding brothers in the corporate policy of "Creativity and Contribution". Casio has the advantage of free promotion for their products. None of their competitors have anything close to this, so it has acted as a vital competitive advantage. Casio has the advantage of having production centers that are able to produce multiple product lines within different plants. This has proved to be extremely valuable following the Tsunami that has disrupted the supply chain of most of its competitors.

Weakness - Casio's product line is both a strength and a weakness. A downside of their product line is that none of their products are essential items. This gives them an extremely correlated performance to the global economy as a whole. Nothing has made this clearer than the recent economic recession that has caused Casio's sales to plummet. Another weakness that Casio faces is that they are not as large as their competitors. This means that they do not have the same economy of scale benefits that Sony or Toshiba may possess.

Opportunity - Casio has the opportunity to expand into the emerging tablet market. They do not sell conventional laptops but they do sell smart phones with Internet capabilities. This is a young market that has yet to develop. If Casio is able to develop this technology, potential with a joint venture, they could quickly become a market leader. Joining this exciting new market may also bring brand awareness to their other products. Casio has the opportunity to expand on its watch line. Casio watches are truly unique and even have a cult following. Casio has made a further investment in their watch line, by establishing a new woman's line. We have yet to see how this will pay off. Finally, Casio's mobile phones currently have no visibility outside the Japanese market, and can potentially replicate the global success of its watch products.

Threat - Casio faces constant competitive rivalry from its larger competitors. The consumer electronics industry is constantly evolving. If Casio makes the wrong R&D decisions, their products could quickly become obsolete in this constantly changing industry. Also Casio's sales are concentrated in the Japanese market. If Japan is unable to recover from the recent tsunami, Casio could see its sales drop significantly.

Tsunami

On March 14th, Casio released a statement about the effects of the tsunami on the Casio Group’s operations. They were happy to report that none of the workers were injured in the tsunami. They claim that they are currently inspecting all of their facilities and that production will resume when the inspections are finished. They have said that there is expected to be no damage to business buildings and structures but that business activities could be affected due to interruptions in essential utilities, as the region re-builds. Casio has donated money to the relief effort in the region. Recording artist Nicki Minaj is working with Casio to auction off a signed version of her signature model Casio camera. Casio has stated that they will issue a statement once these inspections are finished but no such statement has been issued yet. Even if Casio comes away from the Tsunami unscathed, they will most likely not see the same sales volume that they have been accustomed to in recent years. Over 50% of Casio’s annual sales are accounted for domestically.[10] Japanese consumers affected by the tsunami will most likely not have any money to spend on Casio’s products. Many of these people have family members in the country that they may now be relying on. This drains even more people’s disposable income and decreases the likely hood that they will be purchasing these products. It is still too soon to see the long term effects that the tsunami will have on the on the consumer electronics industry and the nation of Japan as a whole, but it will clearly take many years to recover from this catastrophe.

References

  1. Casio Product Web Site
  2. Consolidated Financial Results
  3. Shock The World Tour
  4. Casio U.S. Research and Development Center Website
  5. Stable Supply of Products
  6. Responsibilities to Suppliers
  7. Sony Annual Report
  8. Toshiba Annual Report
  9. Casio Corporate Website
  10. Segment Information
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