April 28, 2005 1:43 PM PDT
Digital camera market peaked too soon
Shipments will be strong in the next couple years but will slow and then dip over the long term, research firm IDC forecast in a report Thursday. Indications are that the market will peak prematurely, missing the opportunity to replace film cameras as the predominant method of taking photos--instead the market will be made up of a more diverse range of devices with photo capturing abilities, such as cell phones and other combination devices.
"Digital cameras won't become as ubiquitous as film because manufacturers became obsessed with features instead of the unmet market," said Chris Chute, digital imaging analyst with IDC. "They were rewarded with market growth, but once they filled that bucket there wasn't any other bucket to fill."
Though shipments will continue to be strong through 2006--reaching 94 million units--growth will slow then begin shrinking in 2007. By 2009, shipments will decline to 82 million units, Chute forecast.
Manufacturers will be re-evaluating their roles in the digital camera market during the next 18 months, Chute said.
The top digital camera makers worldwide and in the United States are Canon, Hewlett-Packard, Kodak, Olympus and Sony.
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