2014: More Change for Camera Vendors

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Jan 21, 2014

Last year InfoTrends talked much about change and asked “Are you prepared?” In 2014 the same holds true. We are in the midst of a transformation in the imaging market. From a camera perspective we have moved through digital photography which was mostly a film replacement phase, to connected cameras which is where we are today and now we are heading towards intelligent photography.

In an environment that is marked by uncertainty we, the imaging analysts at InfoTrends, are examining the trends that will shape the imaging market in 2014. We feel certain at least two of our trends for 2014 will come true:

  1. Fewer cameras will be sold. This will be the case for point and shoot and interchangeable lens cameras.
  2. More photos will be taken than ever before.

Whilst the camera market is taking a turn for the worse there are few signs of a slowdown in the smartphone market. For consumers this means that they will have access to more cameras than ever before. Conventional cameras are being kept longer and therefore the installed base of digital cameras remains high. Smartphone ownership is increasing and smartphones are rapidly replaced which means that diffusion of innovation in the smartphone market is faster than it is in the camera market.

Smartphones with better camera modules and greater processing capacity (64-bit processors in more smartphones in 2014), faster connectivity (4G rollout is expanding and data costs are coming down) and a constant stream of new apps are creating a very satisfying photo experience for consumers. The result is that more photos are taken by individuals with smartphones. Growth in smartphone photography is further fuelled by more individuals owning smartphones.

A consequence of the slowdown in the camera market is that in 2014 the buyers of digital cameras will increasingly be hobbyists. Hobbyists are fundamental to the camera market. They are emotionally involved with photography and tend to spend a large portion of their disposable income on cameras and upgrade more frequently than other types of consumers. Therefore, in 2014 we expect that a larger proportion of new camera announcements than in the past will target hobbyists with premium features. Casual photographers and those with a limited interest in photography will migrate to smartphones and will increasingly retire their point and shoot camera.

The ultimate result of the slowdown in the camera market is that some of the current players in the market will have to make the tough decision to exit. When this happens it will be sad, but in a competitive market survival of the fittest is the rule of the game. On the other hand the growth in photos that are taken is opening up new opportunities. InfoTrends is keeping a close eye on new players offering photo services and apps.

If you would like to find out more about the imaging trends that will shape the market in 2014 visit the report store.

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