How Smartphones Are Killing Point & Shoot Cameras

How Smartphones Are Killing Point & Shoot Cameras

High-end mobile phones continue to compete with (and make obsolete) a number of other common devices.

Paloma M. Vazquez
  • 7 december 2010

A recent article in The New York Times sheds some light on how the growth of smartphones – with their 5 or 10 megapixel built-in cameras – may be posing a significant threat to the point-and-shoot camera category. For the casual user and photographer interested in sharing photos of their travels, odd sightings, friends and family with others – the immediacy of being able to shoot on their iPhone or Android and share immediately via Facebook or Flickr may be more compelling than having to carry another piece of equipment around (although small) for these casual occasions.

According to the NYT;

The sales figures tell the story. While smartphone sales in the United States continue to skyrocket, unit sales of point-and-shoot cameras fell nearly 16 percent from 2008, according to the market research firm NPD Group. That corresponds to a decline of 24% in dollars, to $1.9 billion, from $2.4 billion.

Even when the recession eased over the last year, sales of point-and-shoots feel. At the same time, sales of more powerful cameras like SLRs, with advanced features like interchangeable lenses and manual settings, have increased by nearly 29 percent in dollars since 2009, according to NPD.

The declines apply to point-and-shoot cameras, and not to more ‘amateur/professional’ cameras will full feature sets – including SLRs. It’s clear that the shift applies to the casual usage occasion – where a photo of you kicking your feet up while overlooking the beach, or of the crazy chocolate concoction you’re eating at a new, hot restaurant could be just as easily taken – and immediately shared with your world – via your smartphone.

Flickr (not to mention Facebook) serve as evidence of the permeation of smartphone casual photography. According to the NYT;

Flickr, the photo-sharing site, says users add more than three million photos to its inventory every day. Yet Flickr’s data shows that the most popular camera among its 55 million users is a smartphone, Apple’s iPhone 3G. Not a single point-and-shoot makes it into its top five. The remaining spots are occupied by S.L.R.’s from Canon and Nikon.

We expect to see the immediacy, ubiquity and personalization of mobile devices continue to compete directly with more than just the point-and-shoot digital camera category. With the increasing utility of mobile applications, more activities that one may have previously relied on another device or form of media for – from compact video cameras to digital music players, from recipe books to travel guides and in limited cases from ATMs to ticket booths – brands should factor in mobile usage and consumption into more than just their media strategy and plans, but in their product development & innovation plans overall.

New York Times: In Smartphone Era, Point-And-Shoots Stay Home

+digital camera
+digital photography
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