April 14, 2005 – The camera phone industry is throwing punches, with a round won in the low-end market. According to a report released by global research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics, camera phones outsold digital cameras in 2004 by nearly 4 to 1. Many research firms agree that the digital camera market is slowing, while the camera phone market is still increasing in momentum.
"The digital still camera market is running out of steam," said Chris Ambrosio, director of Strategy Analytics’ global wireless practice. "Vendors such as Kodak, Canon and Fuji will find growth harder to achieve in 2006."
Strategy Analytics expects camera phones to take 15 percent of the low-end digital still camera market by 2010. Competing marketing research firm InfoTrends/CAP Ventures found that 20 percent of Internet users owned a camera phone in 2004. Their research confirms the threat of camera phones overtaking the low-end of the still camera market.
"Camera phones will put immense competitive pressures on one-time-use cameras as well as low-end to mid-range digital still cameras," said Jeff Hayes, a director at InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. "There is a very real potential for camera phones to replace disposable film cameras and low-end digital still cameras."
According to the company’s research, global camera phone sales increased by 200 percent in 2004 with total global shipments reaching 257 million camera phones. That number is expected to grow to 900 million in 2009 and account for 89 percent of all mobile phones. The ballooning growth of camera phones shouldn’t affect the pricier end of the digital camera market.
"Digital SLRs and high-end point & shoot cameras should maintain their niche, but for many consumers the camera phone will become their everyday camera," Hayes said.