Digital SLRs on the Upswing

Digital SLRs on the Upswing

By Ron Leach

A new six-year forecast released by a leading market research firm serving the digital imaging industry points to digital SLRS as "the brightest spot in the digital camera market." In their report, entitled "North American Consumer Digital Camera Forecast: 2008--2013, InfoTrends says that DSLRs represent growth far outweighing the increase in the digital camera market as a whole.

Last year the DSLR market grew by a whopping 40%, driven by lower prices, sophisticated but easy-to-use technology and the increasing number of models available. By comparison, the previously hot digital point-and-shoot market has cooled a bit, growing by 24% in 2007. As the growth in the compact market has slowed, retailers are turning to DSLRs to maintain their camera business.

Mette Eriksen, Director of InfoTrends' Digital Photography Trends Service, explains that "consumers who are upgrading to DSLRs are no longer just hobbyists, but also include families with young children who are looking for cameras with no shutter lag." Eriksen predicts that as the DSLR category becomes even more profitable, manufacturers will devote more resources to R&D, thereby accelerating the introduction of new innovations that will encourage photographers to upgrade their camera bodies more often.

We can expect 2008 and 2009 to be critical years for camera manufacturers who are rigorously competing to entice first-time DSLR buyers to commit to their system of lenses, flash equipment and other accessories.