Western Europe is the largest digital camera market in the world, according to a study by InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. Good sales of Nikon and Canon consumer D-SLRs have helped this market to become the fastest growth area and is set to grow by 234% in 2005. Around 22.5 million digital cameras were sold last year in Western Europe and that figure is expected to increase by 32% in 2005. Digital camera revenue will rise by 29% to an expected €10 billion. The study shows that the majority of people purchasing cameras are first-time buyers, but this is expected to change in 2007 when the market will shift more to replacement buyers.

Press Release:

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures Reports Western European Digital Camera Market Largest Worldwide in 2005

(Weymouth, MA) September, 20 2005 - Digital camera unit sales reached 22.5 million units in Western Europe in 2004 and the market is expected to grow by 32% in 2005, reaching 29.8 million units by year end. Although average selling prices for digital cameras declined in 2004, revenues increased by a staggering 42%. Revenues are expected to continue to increase by 29% in 2005 to total just over €10 billion. This makes Western Europe the largest digital camera market worldwide in terms of units sold and revenue.

Household penetration of digital cameras remains quite low, reaching 26% in 2004. First time buyers dominated the market, representing 85% of all digital camera purchases. In 2005, the market will shift from the early adopter stage to an early majority market as household penetration of digital cameras reaches 39%.

“This year the Western European digital photography market will be catapulted into the mainstream market as a mass of consumers will buy their first digital camera,” commented Mette Eriksen, a Consultant at InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. “With that come new challenges and new opportunities for vendors. As household penetration increases, replacement buyers will become the mainstay for digital camera sales. We expect by 2007 the Western European market will make a shift with more replacement buyers than first time buyers.”

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures’ new forecast entitled Western European Consumer Digital Camera Forecast: 2005-2010 answers the important question; how big will the replacement market be, and what features are consumers looking for? Other key areas such as the growth in volume, and value of point and shoot cameras compared to digital SLR are also explored.

Although only a small proportion of the overall market, the digital SLR market was the fastest growing segment of the Western European market in 2004. The segment is expected to grow by 264% in 2005. Canon and Nikon’s consumer digital SLR cameras have been selling well, and the consumer digital SLR segment represents growth opportunities for vendors in a market that is rapidly changing from being highly profitable to one where profits are squeezed. In 2005 and 2006 new models and new players are expected to emerge in this segment.

The top digital camera players were Canon, Sony, and Olympus in rank order for Western European 2004 unit sales. Canon is expected to maintain its position as the market leader in 2005. Olympus and Sony can expect to lose some market share in 2005 to an aggressive Kodak, which is expected to focus its efforts in the European market this year.

This report provides five-year unit, revenue, installed base, and average selling price forecasts for the Western European market and the five major European markets: Germany, U.K., France, Italy, and Spain. It also contains sections on Benelux, Scandinavia, and Austria/Switzerland. The forecast breaks out resolution segments into sub-2MP, 2.0 – 2.9MP, 3.0 – 3.9MP, 4.0 – 4.9MP, 5.0 – 5.9MP, 6.0 – 6.9MP, 7.0 – 7.9MP, and 8MP+, and provides five-year unit and revenue forecasts for point and shoot digital cameras and digital SLR cameras. The likely impact of camera phones on digital cameras over the forecast period is also assessed.