Smartphones ‘edging our digital cameras out of the picture’
THE soaring popularity of smartphones is having a major impact on the sales of digital cameras, with sales down by nearly a third in the last five years, a new report shows today.
Cameras and camcorders, which were once essential to capture family scenes for every summer holiday are falling out of favour as Britons increasingly rely on the photo devices on their mobile phones.
Sales of digital cameras have fallen dramatically, declining by 29 per cent since 2006, to a value of £598 million in 2011, according to market research analysts Mintel.
In addition, 8 per cent of UK adults – three million consumers – now claim that they are likely to use a smartphone instead of replacing their current camera when it breaks.
While the market was valued at £843m in 2006, by 2016 it is forecast to have declined to just £523m. The picture is no better for camcorders, which have experienced a 21 per cent decline in sales over the past five years, down from £354m in 2006 to £279m in 2011.
Samuel Gee, technology analyst at Mintel, said: “Although smartphone cameras do not typically match the quality of output of dedicated devices, the technology is consistently improving, as the quality of camera-image output becomes too high for consumers to reliably distinguish between competitors.
“Dedicated device manufacturers investing in digital services and including social connectivity and image-editing features in upcoming devices will remain a more enticing proposition.”
Today, as many as 80 per cent of all consumers capture photos with a digital camera or camcorder and some four in ten (40 per cent) only use a digital camera or camcorder.
Almost half (45 per cent) of consumers only use their smartphone to capture photo or video.
Meanwhile, the traditional film-camera is used by just 8 per cent of all Britons.
In terms of purchasing, four in ten (39 per cent) camera owners purchased a camera to replace their old one in the last five years.
Around a third (34 per cent) of consumers purchased a camera for their holiday (34 per cent) while almost one in five (18 per cent) purchased a camera to record a specific event.
Some 21 per cent of all camera and camcorder owners agree that smartphones are a better long-term investment than a camera or camcorder.
However, while there is a trend toward using smartphones for photo taking, 71 per cent strongly agree that the quality of photos is better on a digital camera or camcorder than a smartphone.
One in five – 19 per cent – of Britons have bought a compact digital in the past 12 months, with around the same number (22 per cent) saying they do not own one.
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