InfoTrends Research Group publish this interesting article on the digicam market:

"The transition from film-based photography to digital photography is underway worldwide. Though the complete transition is still many years away, it is happening in all market segments, including youth, consumer, and business. InfoTrends Research Group, Inc.'s "1999 Low End Digital Camera Forecast Worldwide Summary" shows that worldwide digital camera sales will top 3.6 million units in 1999, growing at an annual rate of 36% through 2003. "A combination of forces are driving this growth, including increasing penetration of PCs, Internet connectivity, mass market awareness and digital photo retail and online services," says Michelle Lampmann, market research analyst at InfoTrends Research Group. "

The three leading regions for digital cameras are Japan, North America and Europe. Japan has been the global leader in sales. However, the market for digital cameras in North America is growing at a faster rate, and it is expected to outpace Japan's unit shipments in 2000. Though Europe is the second leading region for IT markets, digital camera vendors currently have to overcome greater barriers in this region, including varying distribution tactics for each country, support for multiple languages, and varying consumer preferences by country.

Olympus, Sony, Kodak, and Fuji are the worldwide market leaders. These players' positions in each region vary according to user feature preferences, vendor distribution strength, and brand reputation. In Japan users prefer compact designs and the latest specifications. In North America, ease of use is a priority to users. In Europe, the market is very sensitive to image quality.

The new "1999 Worldwide Low End Digital Camera Forecast Worldwide Summary" summarizes InfoTrends' in-depth market forecast reports for North America, Japan and Europe. It sizes the low end digital camera market, outlines key vendors and trends, and projects unit shipments, revenues, and price declines through 2003 by region. The Worldwide Summary, as well as the more in-depth regional digital camera forecast reports, are available now.