Smartphones are convenient and connected. Where does that leave digital cameras?

Mette Eriksen
Jul 31, 2012

The digital camera market in EMEA peaked back in 2007 and the market is now in decline. This is caused by high household penetration of digital cameras combined with a slowing economy. The smartphone market on the other hand is seeing spectacular growth which is showing no signs of slowing. This is driven by an increase in the number of smartphone models that are available, less expensive data plans and frequent replacements driven by data plans which typically last no more than 24 months.

At the same time InfoTrends research is showing that smartphones are rapidly moving up on the list of cameras that are used most often. Since 2010 the number of respondents to our annual European Digital Photography Survey who say they use a smartphone most often for taking photos has more than quadrupled. P&S cameras remain the most used camera at least for now.

Only a small minority of consumers in Europe have ditched their digital camera completely in favour of a smartphone. However, half of survey respondents believe there is a chance that in the future they will only use a phone for taking photos.

Consumer behavior is rapidly changing and technology is moving at breakneck pace. For digital camera vendors these are concerning times and also exciting times. Digital camera vendors who are willing to make changes and move with the times the opportunities are immense.

Smartphones have two trump cards against digital cameras:
They are always carried
They have connectivity

Digital camera vendors are moving towards connectivity in digital cameras, but it is happening slowly. Apart from Samsung few vendors are taking a structured approach where there are signs of connectivity becoming a standard feature throughout the range of cameras.

There is no need for digital camera vendors to reinvent the wheel when it comes to connectivity in digital cameras. Working with smartphones as a hot spot or connecting via a router works well. In order for digital cameras to become more attractive to consumers which in turn will drive up usage InfoTrends believes that the following wish list of features should be included in digital cameras:

  • On-camera browser that enables entry of passwords and acceptance of user agreements so that any hotspot can be easily accessed
  • The ability to choose on-camera and use any social networking site, photo sharing site, and cloud storage site
  • The ability to access images stored elsewhere, such as social networks, the cloud, as well as online photo services to view and even download them to the camera
  • Instead of the camera being a one-way communication device, it then becomes a two-way communication device
  • The possibility to download apps directly to the camera
  • Supporting all the leading operating systems, which include Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows
  • Easy-to-use, intuitive user interface
  • Wi-Fi must be a standard in all digital cameras

You can read more about the impact that smartphones are having on digital cameras in the report Digital Cameras, Smartphones, and Connected Cameras is available to purchase now. If you would like more information on InfoTrends’ consumer digital photography research in Europe please contact Jennie Lewis at jennie_lewis@infotrends.com.

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