Cruising my normal news haunts I noticed this interesting article which notes that Digital camera shipments by Japanese makers surged 81 percent in Oct-Dec based on the same period the year before, up to 1.94 million. By value shipments jumped 61 percent to 84.4 billion YEN (US$759 million).

Here's the article:

Japan digital camera shipments surge in Oct-Dec

TOKYO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Digital still camera shipments by Japanese makers surged 81 percent in October-December from a year earlier to 1.94 million, the Japan Electronic Industry Development Association (JEIDA) said on Wednesday.

By value shipments jumped 61 percent to 84.4 billion yen.

The association attributed the increase in particular to strong export demand generated by the launch of cheaper-priced models overseas.

In 1999, Japanese makers shipped 4.82 million such cameras worth 213.4 billion yen, up 47 percent by volume and 42 percent by value from the previous year, JEIDA said.

Domestic shipments rose 21 percent by volume to 1.45 million and 32 percent by value to 67.3 billion yen. Exports rose 62 percent by volume to 3.37 million and 47 percent by value to 146.2 billion yen.

All major makers began selling cheaper 2 megapixel models last year and plan to launch 3 megapixel models as soon as next month.

Japan has 20 digital still camera makers. Olympus Optical Co Ltd , Canon Inc and Fuji Photo Film Co Ltd are the leading makers.