While many have expected a continued downfall in point-and-shoot camera sales, it has become very clear that 2013 was a true turning point for these cameras. Having experienced plunging sales – global shipments were down 42% in the first five months of 2013 – the leading camera makers are scrambling to streamline product lines and compete with the convenience of smartphone cameras. Industry giants Canon and Nikon have both revised their sales forecasts significantly for this year – Canon by a full 10 percent. However, while Canon and Nikon are fortunate to have some sales, since both offer top digital SLR models that don’t compete directly with smartphone cameras, others are not so lucky. One analyst predicted that the Olympus brand might disappear altogether this year, citing its measly 7% market share, failure to generate a profit in any of the past three years, and a grim outlook for the coming year, particularly because the company’s main camera segment is compact cameras, which are in direct competition with smartphones.
Smartphone Cameras Continue to Skyrocket
While traditional camera manufacturers are not thrilled with the growth in smartphone popularity, consumers with increasingly busy lifestyles are grateful for one gadget that is multi-functional. Sales growth has been steady (see image below).
Given the clear dominance of the smartphone camera for everyday photos, companies are now pushing the envelope within that market. Amazon is rumored to have in development a
3D phone which uses four cameras that track eye and head movements to make the screen appear three dimensional. Samsung has been developing its ISOCELL technology to improve color and image quality, and recently introduced a 13MP camera.
Better Smartphone Cameras on the Rise
What will we find in our cameras next? The possibilities are phenomenal. While at Kasalis our technology drives active alignment to become an essential component in competitive camera modules, others will be developing gesture recognition, 3D imaging, and amazing mobile photography apps. What do you see happening in your personal camera use? Is your smartphone taking over? Either way, the next generation of smartphone camera will undoubtedly be thrilling for photographers on the move, and will probably, in the end, deliver the knock-out blow to the point-and-shoot era.