A new study by NPD Group confirms what everyone in the wireless and photo business knows: people are shooting more photos and videos on smartphones, and fewer on conventional cameras. According to the Imaging Convergence Study, the percentage of photos taken in the U.S. with a smartphone rose from 17% in 2010 to 27% in 2011, while the percentage of photos taken on single-purpose cameras dropped from 52% in 2010 to 44% in 2011.
The graph at the top of this story provides other insight. Mobile phone users are taking are more than half of their casual, spontaneous photos and videos on smartphones; and more than 30% of their vacation photos and videos.
The study is based on an online survey conducted between November 11 and 21 in the U.S. Participants were all members of NPD's Proprietary Online Registered Panel.
"There is no doubt that the smartphone is becoming ‘good enough' much of the time; but thanks to mobile phones, more pictures are being taken than ever before," said Executive Director and Senior Imaging Analyst Liz Cutting in a prepared statement. "Consumers who use their mobile phones to take pictures and video were more likely to do so instead of their camera when capturing spontaneous moments; but for important events, single-purpose cameras or camcorders are still largely the device of choice."
The trend is being felt at the cash register. Camcorders and lower-end point-and-shoot cameras have taken the brunt of the movement to smartphones. According to NPD's Retail Tracking Service, the point-and-shoot camera market in the U.S. was down 17% in units and 18% in dollars for the first 11 months of 2011. Pocket camcorders were down 13% in units and 27% in dollars, and traditional flash camcorders declined 8% in units and 10% in dollars.
There were, however, positive growth segments of the market. Detachable-lens cameras increased by 12% in units and 11% in dollars over the same time period, with an average price of US$863; and point-and-shoot cameras with optical zooms of 10x or greater grew by 16% in units and 10% in dollars, with an average price of US$247.