Compact cameras losing out to smartphones
SMARTPHONES are replacing point-and-shoot cameras for many people, according to new figures.
Sales of point-and-shoot cameras fell by 30pc in value last year and the growth of smartphone camera usage is thought to be to blame.
Photo sharing websites such as Flickr are seeing growing numbers of users uploading pictures taken using their smartphone. Last summer the iPhone 4 became the most popular camera on Flickr, significantly ahead of the Nikon D90, which was in second place.
Research firm GfK said that 48pc of camera manufacturers' revenue in 2010 came from basic fixed-lens cameras. Last year that had fallen to 37pc.
"2011 was when sales of basic cameras seriously started to decline," GfK analyst Zhelya Dancheva told the Guardian. "It's about how consumers are using cameras, and on what occasions. The smartphone is popular because it's always in your pocket, and you are connected so you can directly upload to the internet whenever you want."
When Apple launched the iPhone 4S last autumn, the company emphasised the improvements to the camera. The iPhone 4S has an 8-megapixel camera compared to the 5-megapixel version in the iPhone 4 and it has considerable improvements in its lenses and photo software.
Last week, it was reported that Kodak was on the brink of bankruptcy, laid low first by a slow entry into the digital camera market and driven lower still by the rise of smartphones.
A similar decline in point-and-shoot cameras is happening in the US, Bloomberg reports. Americans used their smartphones to take 27pc of their pictures in 2011 - up from 17pc the year before. Meanwhile, sales of entry-level cameras fell by 17pc.
At the Consumer Electronics Show, which takes place in Las Vegas this week, camera manufacturers are keen to show off their latest models. They hope that new features, such as water resistance, 3D photography and intelligent focusing will encourage customers to keep buying.
“All manufacturers, including Samsung, need to focus on the value proposition of a camera and what differentiates it versus a smartphone,” Reid Sullivan, a senior vice president of Samsung, said.