A study from InfoTrends shows that the Japan Low End Digital market (less than 200,000 YEN; $1,800) is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 46% through 2005.. Unit sales will grow from over 2.6 million to 17.7 million in 2005. Revenues from digital camera sales will grow at a compound annual rate of 24% to reach 450 billion yen (~US$4.1 billion) in 2005.

From InfoTrends:

Japan Low End Digital Camera Market Growing 46% Annually Through 2005

A new study from InfoTrends Research Group projects that the Japan Low End digital camera market (sub-200,000 yen) is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 46% through 2005. Unit sales will grow from over 2.6 million to 17.7 million in 2005. Revenues generated from digital camera sales will grow at a compound annual rate of 24% to reach 450 billion yen in 2005.

In Japan, buyers are beginning to purchase digital cameras to replace their film-based cameras for the first time. In fact, industry sources are reporting a decline in film camera sales this year as a result of increasing digital camera sales. This is occurring as a result of achieving 2 million pixel resolution, which delivers sufficient image quality for most consumers' snapshooting needs. Additionally, digital cameras are beginning to reach comparable price points to point & shoot film cameras. Digital camera vendors are also now offering broad product lines that target a range of consumer price points and feature requirements.

"Though digital cameras are now appealing to a broader market in Japan, the infrastructure to support digital photographers is still lagging behind market growth," says Michelle Lampmann, market research analyst for InfoTrends Research Group. Digital develop, process, and enlargement (DPE) services are not widely available and tend to cost more than film processing services. Additionally, online photo-processing services have not yet had an impact, because the turnaround time is not competitive with local retail services. Non-PC owning households will not adopt digital cameras until a printing infrastructure is in place to support their photographic needs.

Fuji and Olympus are the market leaders in Japan, offering broad product lines to target many price points and feature requirements. Other vendors, including Sony and Canon, are becoming more competitive, but they have not yet developed as broad product lines.

Digital camera features are very important to Japanese consumers. The pixel race is slowing down because many consumers are satisfied with 2 million pixel resolution. As a result, other features are becoming more important, including optical zoom and compact and stylish designs. Pixel resolution will continue to increase, reaching 4 million pixels in 2001, but consumers are not upgrading as quickly to the next resolution level as they did in the past.

The new report, "2000 Japan Digital Camera Forecast," covers major trends in the sub-200,000 yen digital camera market, and includes a five-year market forecast for digital camera unit shipments, revenues, vendor market share and resolution trends. This forecast projects digital camera sales by price segment: point & shoot, entry-level and toy digital cameras. It also provides in-depth analysis on each vendor's strategy, market share, strengths, weaknesses, and future plans. In addition, the report examines market trends such as market growth for non-PC users and business users; feature trends such as three million pixel sensors and optical zoom; and products and services to support digital photography adoption, such as digital photo processing services. The report is available immediately in hard copy and electronic format.