Most manufacturers work with a single importer which is authorized to sell and support their products within a given country or geographic region. The importer in turn usually establishes a channel of specific, local dealers and distributors which are authorized to resell the imported products.
The sole authorized importers of digital cameras and accessories into the U.S. pay import duties and taxes, and are the designated providers of customer service and support for all of their respectively-branded digital camera and accessory products in the U.S. market.
Products that are imported and sold by third parties and methods outside of the authorized distribution channel are referred to as “Gray Market Products”. With the weakening of the U.S. dollar, and the rise of global markets and the internet, Gray Market Products have become increasingly more common in the U.S. digital camera market segment, and in the U.S. consumer electronics market in general.
How are “Gray Market Products” Different from Manufacturer-Authorized Products?
To ensure compliance with country-specific safety regulations and certifications (FCC, CE, UL, etc.) and other government requirements, manufacturers provide special packaging and product engineering designed to meet local country/region requirements.