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Camera Phones are 9% of Primary Still Image Capture Devices

Digital Still Camera Market Now Relies on Customer Upgrades; Camcorders Represent the Final Consumer Frontier

The digital imaging industry continues to thrive with more image and video devices in the hands of consumers than ever before according to a study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). CEA’s Digital Imaging Study Update: Sharing and Storing Photos and Video II, found that cell phones now account for nine percent of primary still image capture, which is more than double the 2005 rate. The study also found that the digital camera category is nearing maturity and will soon heavily rely on customer upgrades.

Tim Herbert, senior director of market research at CEA, said, “Among consumers who now classify their cell phone as their primary image capture device, 47 percent also own a digital camera. Consumers have yet to significantly engage in the practice of substituting devices, but rather use devices in a complementary manner. As cell phones progress to 3+ megapixels, offer greater storage and more features, this trend may change. However digital cameras are not static, as manufacturers incorporate Wi-Fi and other capabilities that enable the user to quickly send a photo via email to a recipient anywhere, consumers may very well decide no single device is sufficient for all their needs.”

The study also studied camcorders, which are seemingly the last frontier for the consumer transition from analog to digital. According to Herbert, “Consumers have yet to embrace the category with the same enthusiasm as digital cameras and analog remains the leader among owners of video capture devices. One reason for this could be the fact that camcorders face competition from digital still cameras and newer cell phone models, many of which include video capture features.”

Although the importance of feature sets, form factor and style has risen in recent years, in many ways the digital still camera market is still defined by megapixels. Manufacturers continue to pack greater resolution into each subsequent camera model. The five megapixel category remains the dominant segment, but with expected growth of 120 percent in 2006, the six to seven megapixel category will register the highest growth rate this year.

The survey found that little has changed since 2005 in the way consumers back-up and store their digital content. Consumers continue to take chances with their digital photos and videos with 78 percent of them relying on their PC for long-term storage, meaning they are just a hard-drive crash away from disaster. Herbert added that 49 percent of households say they would be interested in automatic back-up of their files on their PC.

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“It is difficult for consumers to weigh the cost/benefits of devoting the time to data maintenance if they have never experienced a data loss,” he said. “However, as data accumulation grows with digital photos, videos and music, files, the cost of loss becomes more painful.”

Digital Imaging Study Update: Sharing and Storing Photos and Video II (October 2006) was conducted in August 2006. It was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry. Please cite any information to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The complete study is available free to CEA member companies. Non-members may purchase the study for $499 at www.ebrain.org/crs/crs_all.asp.

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