The market for digital SLR and ‘point and shoot’ cameras in western Europe grew 8pc in 2005, with just over 27 million units shipped, according to research from IDC.
The figures show a significant drop from the high growth levels of earlier years which had been in excess of 100pc, claimed Paul Withington, research manager for IDC’s European Printers and Peripherals group. “It’s definitely slowing down; the market is now maturing,” he said.
IDC estimates that the total installed base for digital cameras now stands at 41pc. “There’s still a lot of opportunity in SLRs and in upgrading people to the next level of cameras,” said Withington. Most of last year’s growth came from the mid- and high-range segments; the impact of camera phones was only felt in the lower end of the market at the 2-3MP range, he added.
The market became extremely price driven last year. “The average selling price in 2005 dropped by 21pc, which is pretty hefty considering the prices we’re talking about,” Withington told siliconrepublic.com.
Unsurprisingly, some big names dominated sales figures: Canon was the market leader with a 16.5pc share. Sony narrowly held off second place from Olympus with 10.92pc compared to 10.23pc. Kodak was marginally behind again with 10.11pc and Fuji had 9.58pc of the market. Another major name, Nikon, fell just outside the top five. “They’re definitely trying to sell the cameras on brand itself,” Withington observed.
Between them, these six manufacturers hold close to 65pc of the total market and Withington said this was a sign of consolidation; Konica Minolta sold its SLR division to Sony and smaller Taiwanese players also exited the market. Withington said over the next 18 months, a large consumer electronics firm — many of which tend to be cash rich — could potentially add to its product set by acquiring a digital camera maker.
By Gordon Smith