Batteries and the devices they power rely on each other to such an extent that there is extensive coordination between electronics companies and battery manufacturers.
The degree to which companies align their efforts is shown with digital cameras. These are high-drain devices that require bursts of energy to power the movement of mechanisms. This means that they generally take large batteries, typically AA size.
However, electronics manufacturers are now seeking to convert physical actions in cameras to less energy-intensive digital processes that will allow cameras to take the smaller AAA size of battery. In tandem, battery manufacturers that currently supply camera-specific AA batteries will produce AAA cells specifically for use in cameras. Duracell's PowerPix range of batteries for digital cameras is an example of how device and cell companies are working together.
Duracell senior business manager Martin Gormley says: "We're working with about ten manufacturers and talking about what's going to be available three
to five years from now."
Market research organisation Mintel recently reported that, even as the digital camera market reaches maturity, there is scope for battery companies and retailers to target new consumers, as people upgrade early digital cameras to newer, better models.
It notes that the majority of people now buying digital cameras are upgraders rather than new purchasers. Battery manufacturers also feel that people buying better devices will be encouraged to buy better batteries for them, thereby boosting the premium end of the power cells market.
Mintel notes that many areas of consumers' lives are providing opportunities for battery sales. "During the past couple of years an increase in high-drain devices and innovation from battery manufacturers has considerably changed the market," says its report
"Battery-powered devices have increased both in numbers and in penetration, as ownership of MP3 players, DVD players and digital cameras has grown.
"New product development has also grown the lucrative gadget and electronic toy market, with batteries being requisite in items from robots to books and board games."
The report also notes that the penetration of consumer electronics items, such as MP3 players, digital cameras and even electric toothbrushes is rising. It says that multiple ownership of products such as TVs and DVD players, which have remote controls that require batteries, is also growing.nThe dynamics of power play