Camera phones with 3 MP and bigger sensors outsold digital still cameras 6:1 this year

If you were thinking that the advent of camera phones over the past few years negatively influenced the sales of standalone digital cameras, well… you were right. Very much so, in fact.

It took digital cameras only ten years to render film cameras obsolete, and in almost the same time camera-equipped phones have begun to heavily outsell the standalone digital cameras.

In fact, in 2012, camera phones with 3 megapixel or bigger sensors have outsold digital cameras by a 6:1 ratio. That’s staggering, if obviously to be expected. After all, the saying goes that ‘the best camera is the one you have with you when you need it’, and what is the one device most people carry everywhere with them? That’s right, the phone.

Hence, people think less and less about taking a standalone camera with them wherever they go, and simply rely on the phone for taking pictures. Advances in the quality of pictures taken with phones and smartphones over the past couple of years or so have also certainly influenced the smaller and smaller sales of standalone cameras. For most people, the camera in an iPhone (or high-end Android device) is simply ‘good enough’ these days – not to mention the insane quality churned out by the likes of the Nokia 808 PureView or Nokia N8 (if you can bear the operating system).


Interestingly, in terms of revenue, standalone digital cameras still amounted to 47% of the $55.5 billion camera market in 2012. Camera phones have a 25% share of that. These are estimates put out by IC Insights.

From the same source comes the forecast that in 2016, overall camera sales will be worth $77.8 billion, and 30% of that will go to camera phones, with just 27% share for standalone cameras.

The trend here is clear: most consumer-focused cheap digital cameras are going the way of the film cameras that preceded them – to extinction. Of course, for the foreseeable future there will still be a niche for standalone digital cameras, and a rather large one at that – for professional photography, or even ‘prosumer’ devices (whatever that word means). But for most people most of the time, the phone will be the main camera going forward (if it’s not that already).

This is a similar story to mp3 player sales, and these two categories are the first ones to be heavily impacted by the increasing smartness of our phones. Let’s see what phones will deem extinct next.

Via EE Times Asia

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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  • Dave4321

    This is a complete non sequetur. You are assuming that that people chose one over the other and not both. Every single smartphone sold today has a camera with more than 3PM and most non-smart phones do as well so . That’s like saying the speaker industry is going out of business because there are more smartphone’s with speakers than stand alone speakers sold.

  • dxfcv

    That’s right. And a phone is a much more essential device in everyday use for the majority of people than a camera.

    “But for most people most of the time, the phone will be the main camera going forward (if it’s not that already).”

    Most people don’t care about image quality either…