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Digital-camera sales set to rebound in 2010

Digital-camera shipments plunged 16 percent in 2009 but are expected to turn around this year, a camera trade group says. Digital SLRs still outpace the overall market.

Digital-camera sales declined in 2009, but the market is expected to return to growth this year, a camera trade group said Tuesday.

Total shipments worldwide totaled 106 million, an 11.6 percent drop compared with the 119 million that shipped in 2008. In 2010, the market is expected to edge ahead 3.8 percent to 110 million cameras, the Camera and Imaging Products Association said.

As has been the case for years, the market fared better for digital SLRs, which offer higher quality, faster performance, and interchangeable lenses but also come with higher price tags and greater bulk.

The SLR market--which in CIPA's statistics includes Olympus' and Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds cameras that have interchangeable lenses but aren't technically single-lens reflex models--edged 2.3 percent upward to 10 million units shipped in 2009. That market is forecast to grow another 11.1 percent to 11 million units in 2010.

SLRs, once purchased, open the door for separate lens purchases, and that forecast, too, is rosy. CIPA said it expects lens shipments to increase 11.2 percent to 17.9 million units in 2010.