How smart phones are gutting other industries

Hasbro is taking steps to adjust: it recently bought a 70% stake in a Colorado video-game studio and signed an eight-year agreement with Electronic Arts to distribute digital versions of its board games, which has been one of the companies’ more successful endeavors. “Both of these steps ensure consumers can experience our brands anytime and anywhere,” said Debbie Hancock, Hasbro vice president of investor relations, during the company’s Q2 earnings call on July 22.

Toys are far from the only industry being disrupted by the latest digital devices. Canon’s compact-digital-camera sales are slipping because of smartphone sales, while GPS-device manufacturer Garmin’s sales have fallen, according to its latest quarterly report. Blu-ray sales are doing well in the post-DVD era — up nearly 30% in the first quarter of 2013 — but while portable DVD players once thrived, it’s almost impossible to find a portable Blu-ray player on store shelves. And Apple’s newest innovations are even obsolescing their older siblings: sales of its iconic iPod music player were down 32% this past quarter compared with the same period last year, while the iPhone is up 20%.

What’s happening to these industries? Smartphones and tablets are digital jacks-of-all-trades armed with apps that are good enough replacements for a wide range of other devices. Hard-core photography enthusiasts are still willing to spring for DSLRs, but most people don’t feel the need to carry a separate camera when smartphones are capable of producing images of a staggering 41 megapixels. In fact, Nikon, Canon’s main rival, is reportedly looking for a way into the smartphone market to stay competitive.