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China Daily Website

Grim picture for pocket cameras

Updated: 2013-08-23 07:48
By Gao Yuan ( China Daily)

First-half digital camera sales in China plunged by more than one-third, the sharpest fall-off ever, as people increasingly turned to smartphones equipped with high-definition cameras, analysts said.

Fewer than 4.4 million digital cameras were sold during the first six months, a slump of 35.08 percent year-on-year, according to industry watcher China Market Monitor Co Ltd.

Industry revenue fell more than 20 percent to 9.5 billion yuan ($1.6 billion), it added.

"The downtrend in the digital camera market is unstoppable," said Zuo Yanque, brand director of CMM.

Zuo said lower-end cameras can't stand up to smartphones, which come with powerful photography tools that can essentially replace digital cameras.

"There is no need to bring along a camera if your mobile phone can take pictures of similar quality," he said.

Smartphones' strong social-media functions, which allow their users to access micro blogs and share online content instantly, give those devices yet another edge.

CMM's researchers found that sales of low- and middle-range cameras, priced below 3,000 yuan, declined the most.

"Sales of digital cameras are poised to decline by 20 percent to 30 percent annually in the coming years," said Zuo.

In contrast, smartphone shipments in China are set to witness a "sharp increase" in 2013, powered by constant hardware updates and an expanding user base, according to United States-based consultancy IDC.

Mainland smartphone shipments are on track to exceed 460 million by 2017, with a market scale of 740.5 billion yuan.

China's first-quarter smartphone shipments totaled 78 million units, up nearly 120 percent from a year earlier, said IDC.

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