Trends in Camera Sales

Trends in Camera Sales

By Ron Leach

A couple times a year we take a close look at what types of cameras are being purchased by both amateur and professional photographers, and this information often provides an interesting view on near-term trends in the photo industry. We just received a comprehensive report from the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) detailing camera sales through August 2007, so let's take a look.

Overall demand for still cameras (both film and digital) year-to-date is still growing--up 10% through August of this year as compared to the same period in 2006. Naturally, if you eliminate analog cameras from the mix the increase in camera sales is even stronger at 13%. Sales of 35mm cameras, however, continued their steep decline, with 35mm SLRs dropping by 45% and 35mm compact cameras plummeting 55%. The biggest drop in analog camera sales was in the APS category (does anyone remember that fiasco?) with a decline of 73% year-to-date.

When it comes to digital cameras, almost 90% of those sold in August were models with 6-megapixel resolution or greater. The entry resolution level for new camera buyers is now firmly entrenched above the 7-megapixel range, with purchases of cameras in 7+ megapixel category representing 60% of all digicams sold in August. Sales of cameras with 7-7.9 megapixels were up a whopping 440% on a year-to-date basis and cameras with 8-8.9 megapixels were up 91%. By comparison, sales of cameras below 6 megapixels dropped 74% as compared to a year ago.