Global shipments of digital cameras are expected to climb some 39 percent in 2004 and top 100 million units by 2008, according to an industry report.
Digital camera shipments are seen rising to 68.6 million units this year from 47.9 million in 2003, research firm IDC said in its Worldwide Digital Still Camera Forecast. Shipments rose 71 percent in 2003 from 2002.
"It is a popular category and with the convergence of Internet activity and cheap access, (cameras are) the new way for people to share images rather than the printing method," said IDC analyst Chris Chute.
The dramatic year-over-year rise in shipments is likely to slow each year as the market becomes more mature, he noted, and as mobile phone makers increase the picture-taking powers of their handsets.
Point-and-shoot digital camera makers are expected to counter by offering more potent cameras, with higher resolution at prices comparable to current levels. However, Mr. Chute noted that the camera makers may score greater success by offering consumers more options and style choices.
"If camera vendors can successfully move away from spec-driven marketing (megapixels), and toward marketing by feature sets and lifestyles, digital cameras have the best chance of securing the largest possible market in relation to camera phones," he said.
Sony Corp. led the global digital camera market in 2003, with an 18-percent share of units shipped. Canon Inc. was second at 16 percent share, followed by Olympus Corp. and Eastman Kodak Co.
Demand for digital cameras, which record images on memory chips instead of film, continues to grow as consumers become more comfortable with capturing, storing and printing their images. (Reuters)
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