First time buyers are contributing to the high growth rates in the consumer digital camera market, and industry analysts InfoTrends/CAP Ventures predicts two more years of strong growth before sales peak. Digital camera sales are expected to reach 22.8 million in the US by the end of this year, a 42% growth over 2003. InfoTrends also predicts that the average price of cameras is set to rise. This is due to the popularity of point and shoot cameras and sub-$1000 digital SLRs - a welcome news for vendors but not for consumers.

Press Release:

Continued High Growth Rates in the Consumer Digital Camera Market Astound Industry

(Weymouth, MA) July, 26 2004. Continued high growth rates in the consumer digital camera market are astounding industry vendors, who are waiting for the peak. InfoTrends/CAP Ventures predicts two more years of strong growth before sales peak. Consumer digital camera unit sales in the United States are forecasted to reach 22.8 million in 2004. This represents a unit growth of 42% over 2003, which showed 58% unit growth over 2002.

Factors that contribute to ongoing high growth rates include the growing market of first-time buyers (digital camera penetration is expected to reach over 40% of U.S. households by year-end), and the rate of digital camera users replacing or purchasing an additional digital camera.

“Digital camera users have a lot of incentive to upgrade to the latest crop of digital cameras, since many models introduced this year address several user complaints such as slow imaging processing and poor battery life,” says Michelle Slaughter, Director of Digital Photography Trends at InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. “Additionally, manufacturers are gaining more traction in the U.S. market with premium features, including larger color LCDs (2 inches and larger), ultra-compact and stylish designs, extended zoom models (over 3X optical), and digital SLRs.”

The growing demand for premium point & shoot cameras and sub-$1,000 digital SLRs is raising the average selling price for these devices. The average selling price is forecasted to increase this year, which is great news for manufacturers since they have faced steep price erosion over the life of most models.

The top vendors in the digital camera market are Sony, Canon, Kodak, Olympus, Fuji, HP, and Nikon, ranked in terms of 2003 U.S. unit share. Each of these players captures more than 5% market share, and other players capture individual market shares of less than 5%. Sony and Canon are the market leaders with nearly equal unit shares. These players are expected to remain the leaders through 2004.

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures’ new forecast report entitled 2004 Consumer Digital Camera Forecast, North America provides five-year forecasts for the United States by units, revenue, and average selling price for the consumer (sub-$1,000) 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 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, and 7.0M+. The document also provides a five-year forecast for Canada and total North America unit sales.