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Smartphones dominate, CSCs hang in

GfK’s director, Global Marketing and Sales, Frank Franz gave a global overview of the ‘picture-capturing device’ market during Photokina in September.

PhotokHe shared the stage with Don Franz, (no relation), publisher of the Photo Imaging News website and newsletter. Don not only presented at the GfK briefing, but reported on Frank Franz’ presentation, ‘Imaging & Communication Markets Worldwide’. The following material is based on that report in Photo Imaging News International:

Frank Franz’ presentation underscored just how quickly smartphones have become the dominant picture-taking device:

Smartphones are largest segment by far in the 'picture-taking device' global sales chart. Feature-phones (non smart mobiles are second largest. Cameras represebnt just a sliver of the total market. Source: GfK Boutique, Photo Imaging News International.
Smartphones are largest segment by far in the ‘picture-taking device’ global sales chart. Feature-phones (‘non-smart’ mobiles) are second largest. Cameras represent just a sliver of the total market. Source: GfK Boutique, Photo Imaging News International.

Based on these numbers, every third person in the globe will purchase a picture-taking device next year. While only 50 million digtial cameras will be sold, more than 1.5 billion smartphones are expected to sell. If only 1 percent of smartphone buyers could be enticed to upgrade by purchasing a DSC, an additional 1.5 million cameras would be sold.

The notable growth regions are: Africa/Middle East in which the total will almost double between 2009 and 2015 to almost 350 million, driven primarily by smartphones; Emerging Asia-Pacific, where the total will more than double to greater than 450 million units, also driven by smartphones; and China, where sales are expected to be triple the number in 2009 by 2015, to more than 600 million, totally dominated by smartphones.

As the competition for picture-capture devices heats up, the prices are falling. Consequently, the growth in the value of sales globally is becoming significantly less than the unit growth. Expected growth in dollar terms for 2015 is 2 percent, according to GfK, compared to the 6 percent growth in unit sales.

Two-thirds of the standard mobile phones (‘feature phones’) are priced under $45 while two-thirds of smartphones are under $360. Smartphone displays are also getting larger – 49 percent of those sold in 2Q14 had displays larger than 5-inches, compared to 30 percent one year earlier. For smartphones, in Europe 47 percent have a resolution greater than 8 megapixel, and Asia-Pacific follows closely with 42 percent. Obviously, print service providers can make excellent products from 8-megapixel images captured on these devices, and should be educating their customers. Mr Franz (Frank) urged retailers to talk to their customers about the emotion conveyed by photo products.

While total digital camera sales have been declining since 2011, the relative significance of interchangeable lens cameras has grown dramatically. (Source GfK Boutique and Photo Imaging News International.)

He then focussed on differences in DSLRs and CSCs sales. The first point is that the number of DSLRs being sold is declining (forecast to fall 6 percent from 2014 to 2015) while the number of CSCs being sold is increasing slightly (1 percent from 2014 to 2015). There have also been more mirrorless interchangeable models in the product pipeline over the past two years: 47 vs 23 in 2013 and an expected 41 vs.21 in 2014). Interestingly, mirrorless models have a shorter life cycle than DSLRs.

One of the incentives for purchasing a CSC camera could be connectivity. In June 2014, 45 percent of fixed lens models being sold had Wi-Fi embedded, compared to only 19 percent of DSLR models. On the other hand, 77 percent of CSC models were Wi-Fi enabled.

GfK data from 22 countries point to the opportunity in sales of interchangeable lenses. Almost 40 percent of the revenue following on from a DSLR or CSC camera body sale can be attributed to lenses.

In 2013, 215 lenses were introduced for CSCs, compared to 117 for DSLRs.

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