Industry analysts InfoTrends/CAP Ventures has reported that unit sales of digital cameras in North America hit a high of 22.2 million in 2004, and the number is continuing to rise. Although the pace at which the market is growing has slowed to 16% from 27%, it is expected that 26 million units will be sold this year. Household penetration is also set to rise above half for the first time, at 55%. One of the biggest growth sectors is DSLRs. InfoTrends/CAP Ventures expects the consumer DSLR market to grow 81% in 2005. Research also shows that the market has matured greatly since the introduction of digital cameras nearly 10 years ago, and that by the end of this decade nine out of 10 buyers will be previous owners.

Press Release:

Digital Camera Shipments to Set New Record in 2005, According to InfoTrends/CAP Ventures Report

(Weymouth, MA) July, 14 2005 - The North American digital camera market hit another high point in terms of unit shipments for 2004, growing 27% over 2003 to reach 22.2 million cameras shipped. The market is expected to grow once again to reach 26 million cameras in 2005, but at a slower pace of 16%. The market will peak in 2006 when it reaches just under 28 million cameras, and will begin to decline thereafter.

Slowing growth of digital camera shipments is a natural result of what is a maturing market. As household penetration for digital cameras hit 42% in 2004 and is expected to reach 55% in 2005, the market that was largely fueled by first-time buyers for its first decade of existence will increasingly rely on return buyers. By the end of this decade, in fact, 9 out of 10 buyers of digital cameras will be previous owners.

“The digital camera market has entered its middle age, and with that comes new challenges and new opportunities for camera vendors,” says Mike Wolf, Director of Digital Photography Trends at InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. “Return buyers looking to upgrade their starter cameras with a focus on better resolution, longer battery life, and longer zooms have found great values in the market. Camera vendors have done a good job increasing value for consumers in an effort to maintain average selling prices, but will need to continue upping the ante from a performance and features standpoint moving forward to encourage upgrades. One way to do this is to add new features such as wireless LAN connectivity, which InfoTrends/CAP Ventures expects to grow in popularity over the next several years.”

One of the brightest spots for digital camera vendors has been the Digital SLR. Canon’s Digital Rebel and Nikon’s D70 were two of the best selling models of 2004, despite their higher average prices. Photo hobbyists have been attracted to the powerful features of these cameras. InfoTrends/CAP Ventures expects the consumer DLSR market grow 81% in 2005.

The top digital camera players were Kodak, Sony, Canon, Olympus, Fuji, HP, and Nikon, in rank order for U.S. 2004 unit sales. The top three vendors are expected to hold their ranks in 2005.

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures’ new forecast report entitled 2005 Consumer Digital Camera Forecast: North America provides five-year forecasts for North America by units, revenue, and average selling price for the consumer (sub-$1,500) digital camera market. The forecast also breaks out price, product, and resolution segments. The price segments provided include less than $100, $100 - $200, $201 - $300, $301 - $500, and $500 - $1,000. The product segments include point & shoot cameras and sub-$1,500 digital SLRs. The resolution segments include sub-2.0 megapixels, 2.0M - 2.9M, 3.0M - 3.9M, 4.0M - 4.9M, 5.0M - 5.9M, 6.0 - 6.9M, 7.0-7.9M, and 8M+. The document also provides a five-year forecast for Canada and United States unit sales, as well as U.S. household penetration forecasts.

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures is the leading worldwide market research and strategic consulting firm for the digital imaging and document solutions industries. InfoTrends/CAP Ventures provides research, analysis, forecasts, and advice to help clients understand market trends, identify opportunities, and develop strategies to grow their businesses. Additional information about InfoTrends/CAP Ventures is available by clicking here.