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IDC: Q3 Digicam Shipments Fall Sharply

Digital camera manufacturers, generally insulated from the economic stagnation gripping the country, felt the pinch in the third quarter, according to a new study from IDC, a market research firm.

In its third quarter 2001 U.S. Digital Camera Market Share Report, IDC noted that overall consumer shipments fell 20 percent.

IDC chalked up the drop to two trends. First, the disintegration of the low-end, under-$100 market segment. Formerly a market driver, the bottom has since fallen out from the lower end, fueled by the financial woes of Polaroid and other vendors in this market.

Secondly, slowing growth during the third quarter was exacerbated by the terrorist attacks. Sales channel activity all but halted for much of the month of September.

Some momentum has been regained in October, IDC said, and both vendors and sales channels are cautiously optimistic that the critical fourth quarter will be a successful one. Based on a new forecast to reflect post-Sept. 11 realities, IDC predicted that flat to small fourth quarter growth is possible, resulting in total 2001 U.S. shipments of 7.6 million.

IDC also reported that Sony, HP and Olympus held the top three market-share positions, in that order.