This in from Infortrends: Good news no doubt for digicam manufacturers and digicam websites alike ;-) A new study from InfoTrends Research Group reveals that revenue from digital camera sales in North America will reach $1.9 billion this year, exceeding revenue generated from film camera sales by almost 10%. Digital camera unit sales will exceed film cameras by 2002, growing from 6.7 million in 2000 to 42 million in 2005.

[Statistics in this article are correct ONLY for US.. Worlwide shares are very different]

The digital camera market includes toy digital cameras, digital camera attachments, entry-level, point & shoot and digital SLR cameras. The largest segment in both units and revenues is the digital point & shoot category, which will reach 3.1 million units this year.

Film cameras still vastly outnumber digital cameras - film cameras can be found in over 90% of U.S. households, while digital cameras are in less than 10%. Furthermore, single-use film cameras, which are not included in these figures, are a popular camera solution that will continue to drive film usage. Most of today's digital camera sales are supplementary to film cameras, but there is growing evidence that the replacement market is beginning. By 2005, film camera sales are expected to be in gradual decline, excluding single-use cameras. Many new developments will make digital cameras a viable replacement for film cameras: comparable image quality, affordability, and availability of photofinishing services for digital images. Beyond these advancements, digital cameras offer many additional attractive benefits, such as immediate photo review, simple sharing over the Internet, and the ability to take pictures at virtually no cost-per-frame, printing only those that are worth printing.

``We are on the threshold of entering an era of personal visual communication,'' says Michelle Lampmann, market research analyst, InfoTrends Research Group, Inc. ``Already, the most popular use of digital photos is sharing them via the Internet, either through email or on Web sites. Digital photos are becoming the most shared personal content on the Internet, following email.'' With this evolution of personal communication on the horizon, digital camera manufacturers are expected to take a more aggressive approach to marketing and promotion. Additionally, vendors will develop digital camera devices that go beyond traditional point & shoot cameras, such as digital camera attachments for PDAs and cell phones.

Sony, Olympus and Kodak are the digital camera market leaders, capturing a combined share of nearly 60% of the point & shoot digital camera market. This year there could be a greater shake-up of vendors' unit share, as sub-$200, non-toy digital camera sales exceed 2.2 million units. As a result, vendors' revenue share will become a more critical benchmark. Sony is the digital camera market revenue leader with 35-40% revenue share.

The new report, ``2000 Low End Digital Camera Forecast North America,'' covers major trends in the digital camera market, and includes a five-year market forecast for digital camera device unit shipments, revenues, and vendor market share. This forecast projects digital camera sales by price segment and market segment. The forecast also analyzes resolution trends and vendors' market share by price segment. The digital camera market segments include toy cameras, digital camera attachments, entry-level, and point & shoot cameras. The report is available immediately in hard copy or electronic format.