Forecast: 131 million digital cameras to ship in 2011

A camera industry consortium predicts growth of 7.8 percent this year for the camera market, and higher growth for the interchangeable-lens segment.

CIPA predicts growth in cameras with both built-in and interchangeable lenses from 2010 to 2011.
CIPA predicts growth in cameras with both built-in and interchangeable lenses from 2010 to 2011. CIPA

The camera market will grow 7.8 percent to 131 million units from 2010 to 2011, the Camera and Imaging Products Association forecast today.

As has been the case for some years, cameras with interchangeable lenses are a smaller but faster-growing market. That segment--which now includes compact mirrorless models from Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, and Olympus that are smaller than traditional SLR cameras--should grow 20.2 percent to 15.5 million units in 2011, CIPA forecast.

Cameras with built-in lenses, a much broader market but one in more danger of losses to the growing use of phones for photography, should grow in shipments 6.4 percent to 115.5 million in 2011, CIPA forecast.

Meanwhile, camera lenses continue to be a big market unto themselves--one of the big reasons camera makers are eager to encourage customers to buy a camera that accepts that company's lenses and not a rival's. CIPA expects lens shipments will increase 21.7 percent to 26.4 million.

Digital cameras continue to be a staple of the electronics business. Even though they take better photos than phones, they lack a major smartphone feature: a network connection. That connectivity permits important activities such as sharing photos with Facebook and Instagram.

Research firm iSuppli also expects rising camera shipments, peaking in 2013 then starting to decline.

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