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11 January 2005

Will camera phones replace cameras?

Some quantitative indications on the camera phone market and camera phone use come from InfoTrends/CAP Ventures's report Mobile Imaging: Technology, Trends, Consumer Behaviour, and Business Strategies (via Reuters)

In 2004, camera phone shipments are estimated at 178 M on a total of 628 M handsets shipped (corresponding to 28%). The report projects a formidable growth: by 2009 89% of all phones (968 M) will be camera phones (860 M). And makes the substitution argument that camera phones will take the place of low- and mid-range cameras

for many consumers the camera phone will become their everyday camera

the total number of images captured on camera phones will reach 227 billion by 2009, exceeding the number of photos taken on digital still cameras and film cameras combined!

The argument seems to be grounded on one main dimension, technological innovation

  • primary drivers behind this explosion are improvements in imaging functions
  • higher-speed wireless bandwidth
  • easier to use handsets, services and peripherals

some economics

  • rapid declines in prices for this functionality

some psychology

  • intention to purchase camera phones expressed by 50% of respondent

A potential precursor of the predicted trend is found in Japan where camera phones are the primary cameras for 12,5% of Japanese respondents. However, research on use (based on interviews with 6,360 consumers in North America, Western Europe, Japan, China) seems to show something different. People in Japan are taking much less pictures with their camera phones and are printing them much less often.

The report finds that people in North America and China take an average of 20 camera phone pictures per month, against 5 in Japan. Also in Japan the percentage of camera photos that are printed is, at 1-2%, much lower than in the other countries where consumers are printing between 8 and 10%.

Posted at 10:45 PM in Usage of Mobile Phones | Permalink


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