Digital Camera Market Picture Perfect as Worldwide Shipments Grow 125%, IDC Says Increased Image Use Drives Market

FRAMINGHAM, MA – MAY 10, 2000 – 1999 proved to be a breakthrough year in the digital camera market as acceptance moved beyond the early adopters, driving shipment growth 200% in the United States and almost 125% worldwide. According to new research from IDC, strong shipment growth will continue, and the worldwide value of this market will exceed $4.3 billion in 2000, despite plummeting price points.

With the introduction of 2MP and 3MP (megapixel) cameras, digital images have caught up with their traditional film camera cousins in terms of picture quality. The next issue becomes the usability of these digital images. In the past, there were very few options for using images captured with a digital camera, but all that is changing.

"A digital infrastructure has been developing over the past 18 months and a wide range of opportunity is beginning to present itself," said Ron Glaz, manager of IDC's Digital Camera program. "With three quarters of PC-owning households online, the Internet has fueled digital image acceptance. Internet imaging portals are now providing services that range from storage and printing to on-site manipulation and slideshow capabilities."

Additionally, the industry has recognized consumers' high comfort levels with traditional "brick-and-mortar" photo shops and is addressing this by creating kiosks and processing stations that will help make the transition from film to digital more seamless. In 1999 worldwide digital camera shipments exceeded 6.5 million units. That number will increase dramatically to 41.6 million by 2004.

Key Findings

Worldwide digital camera ASVs dropped 8% from 1998 to 1999. They will decline 19% between 1999 and 2000.

The entry-level segment enjoyed tremendous success, shipping 1.3 million units worldwide in 1999.

Sony dominated the VGA point and shoot segment.

3MP penetrates the markets in early 2000, pushing 2MP camera pricing down to under $799.

Professional photographers are adopting digital cameras steadily, but there is still a decided lack of education about the new technology.

Data and trend information for IDC's report Digital Camera Market Forecast and Analysis, 1997-2004 (IDC #B22190) was collected through survey questions and in-depth interviews with marketing and product management executives representing more than 40 digital camera vendors. Secondary sources, such as third-party component suppliers, resellers, and resources in IDC's extensive information bases, were used to supplement primary research.

For more information or to order a copy of Digital Camera Market Forecast and Analysis, 1997-2004, please contact Patrick Steeves at 508-988-6787 or

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, relevant, and high-impact data and insight on information technology to help organizations make sound business and technology decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide IT markets and technology trends and analyzes IT products and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research, and exposition company.

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