Smartphones are changing the picture for camera sales

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Posted December 20, 2013

It’s a modern paradox: People are taking more photographs than ever before, nearly 400 billion this year, yet sales of cameras are shrinking.


Overall, global shipments of digital cameras have fallen 30 percent this year, according to Christopher Chute, research director of worldwide digital imaging at IDC, a market intelligence firm. Camera stores are closing, and those that remain are emphasizing customer service or high-end products as they fight to stay relevant.

“It’s especially shocking because this was a market that until recently was growing by double digits,” he said. “This is the beginning of the collapse for cameras.”

And the obvious reason for the decline? The ubiquitous smartphone – a combination mobile phone, personal computer, data storage unit and camera, small enough to fit in a pocket. Nearly 60 percent of U.S. homes now have one, compared with 70 percent of homes that own more than one camera, according to The NPD Group.

But while digital camera sales fell by nearly a third this year, smartphone sales are expected to rise more than 32 percent.

Amanda Brady of Castle Rock Township, Minn., recently purchased Nokia’s new Lumia 1020 smartphone with a camera that sports 41 megapixels. She uses it for shots of her artwork to put on but also for nature pics during a recent family vacation to the Black Hills.

“We print quite often, and they don’t look pixelated,” she said.

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