Last year, smartphone cameras outsold digital cameras 6 to 1

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Last week, research came out from ABI saying that 1 billion cameras had been shipped in tablets and smartphones in 2012.   On the back of this, I wanted to find out the size of the smartphone camera market relative to the digital camera market.

The answer comes from ICS Research, which says that global digital camera sales decreased 4% last year to around 138 million, and that phone cameras now outsell digital cameras 6:1.

ICS also tells us that by 2016, smartphone camera sales will have overtaken digital cameras by value as well as volume.   

Overall the camera market will increase in worth from $55.5 in 2012 to $77.8 billion in 2016.  In 2012 stand alone cameras will have accounted for 47% of that and camera phones 25%.  By 2016, the proportion will be 27% to 30%.

In other words, the camera industry as a whole remains a valuable one.  The definition of a ‘camera’ though is changing.  

To the consumer it is becoming the same device s/he uses to send email, tweets, access Facebook, play with games, and go on websites – his / her smartphone.   Cue the increasingly importance of visual communication in social media.

If anything, ICS Research’s predictions of the decline of the standalone camera market are overly optimistic.  

The other week I posted that comparing September 2011 and September 2012 Japan had seen a 42% drop in global camera shipments, with entry level cameras particularly hard-hit.  

Note that these figures originate from the actual industry body – Japan’s Camera and Imaging Products Association (via the Taipei Times)  

Top image – Derek Gavey

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