Wednesday, March 01, 2006

NPD Group: Digital Cameras Help Change A Worldwide View of Photography

According to new findings from NPD Group and The GfK Group, in 2005, "5 megapixel cameras captured a 37 percent unit share in the U.S, up from 20 percent in 2004, while unit share for 3 megapixel cameras dropped from almost 37.5 percent in 2004 to 13 percent in 2005."

Findings were similar "in other parts of the world, with some of the biggest shifts seen in Europe, Asia and Japan. According to The GfK Group, in Japan, which tends to be a more mature market, over 90 percent of digital still camera (DSC) unit sell-through was 5 megapixels or greater in the fourth quarter of 2005, with 6 and 7 megapixel models on the rise."

Digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLR) are also gaining in popularity. "In Japan, digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLR) now hold nearly 7 percent of the country’s DSC unit share. In 2005, DSLRs in the U.S. and Europe had 5.2 and 4.2 percent unit share, respectively. That same year in the U.S., DSLRs reached sub $900 and sub $800 price points for the first time, motivating the advanced amateur to purchase an upgrade."

Marion Knoche at The GfK Group said, “DSLR cameras will give the worldwide digital camera market a big boost in the coming years. Retailers and the overall industry will benefit with the possibility of achieving higher profit margins.”

Regarding the increasing number of camera phones, Liz Cutting at NPD Group said, “The convenience factor is very high but the quality and flexibility of digital cameras still far surpass camera phones." The report found that "in 2005, 45 percent of all mobile phones sold in the U.S. were camera phones, up from 26 percent in 2004. Asia followed a very similar trend. Western Europe had a higher incidence of camera phones at 64 percent, and Japan had a much greater adoption rate with more than 90 percent of all mobile phones sold with camera capabilities both in 2004 and 2005."

GfK's Knoche said, “Even though there are an increasing number of mobile phones with camera capabilities, people are using them more for spur-of-the-moment picture taking and not for planned events where they are taking along better quality and higher resolution digital cameras."

From a global perspective, "Asia saw the biggest digital camera unit growth from 2004 to 2005 with a 36 percent increase. In North America sales increased 19 percent and in Europe they grew 15 percent. The only area to see a decrease was Japan with a slight drop of 2.5 percent."

Knoche added, “Japan’s slight decrease is due to the fact that most of the country’s consumers are satisfied with the model they have purchased, and the replacement cycle is getting longer. Asia, with China being the main engine of consumption, will continue to exhibit strong growth and affect future global trends.”