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IDC Says Image Capture Market Is Strong

Framingham, Mass. – The total market for image-capture devices — which encompasses camera-phones as well as digital still and film cameras – is on track for strong growth through 2007, according to the research firm IDC.

The market is expected to grow an average of 7 percent a year, reaching a total of 715 million units in 2007.

Of these image-capture devices, digital cameras and camera-equipped cellphones will eventually win the day against analog rivals (accounting for 371 million units vs. 346 million analog units), led principally by cellphone sales.

IDC predicted that global shipments of point-and-shoot digital still cameras will out-ship point-and-shoot film cameras in 2005 (45.4 million digital cameras vs. 47.4 million film cameras).

In the United States, that is expected to occur this year, according to industry analysts. Over the next five years, one-time-use (OTU) camera shipments will begin to decline as well due to the “ubiquity and increased convenience that the mobile camera phone will bring to consumers.”

IDC predicted that camera phone shipments will grow to roughly equal declining OTU camera shipments in 2007.

“This is good news for the photography industry,” IDC’s report said. “Digital is not simply displacing film, it is enhancing the entire capture device market.”

The report, titled “How Digital Cameras Will Replace Film Cameras” also takes aim at some of the digital imaging industry’s articles of faith, assailing the assumption that quality, measured in pixels, is a key market driver.