Digital camera growth better than expected in '07
NEW YORK - Consumer appetite for digital cameras so far this year has
grown twice as fast as expected, as buyers replace older models at cheaper
prices, according to research firm IDC.
Moreover, many are upgrading to more powerful cameras, IDC said on Tuesday in
its report "Updated Worldwide Digital Camera Forecast."
Global digital camera shipments are expected to grow by about 15 percent this
year, IDC said, double its previous forecast of 7.5 percent, reversing a trend
of declining growth seen over the past four years.
IDC analyst Chris Chute said cameras are becoming a kind of fashion item, a
trend made popular by tiny mobile phones and Apple Inc's iPod
digital music player.
Similarly, the digital camera has become a personal, low priced item, whose
sales are now more driven by impulse than utility, especially in the United
States, Japan and Europe, Chute said.
"This year was the first that we had a lot of color cameras, a lot of them
under $200," Chute said, noting the trend toward more choices than just black or
silver gadgets. "I think that is resonating with consumers."
At the same time, the report showed that the average number of cameras in
each camera-owning home has remained flat from 2006 at 1.4. IDC said that
suggests consumers are replacing their cameras at a faster rate than
Chute also noted that single-lens-reflex (SLR) cameras, favored by
professionals and photography enthusiasts, will be more of a driver of the total
market than previously thought as prices decline.
Average prices for all digital cameras, ranging from entry level
point-and-shoots to SLRs, are expected to slip about 13 percent this year to
$307 from $352 in 2006.
Chute added that demand for digital cameras, primarily those made by market
leaders, Canon Inc, Sony Corp and Eastman Kodak, should remain strong for the critical holiday shopping season.
IDC said it boosted its growth outlook through 2011, with total units shipped
seen at 138 million, up from an earlier expectation of 123 million. Prices are
expected to decline to about $250 on average, Chute said.
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