It's long been thought that the increasing capability of smartphone cameras is likely to be a threat to the sales of digital cameras, but no research from GfK has shown that the opposite is true.
Somewhat surprisingly, the result also shows that new digital compact system cameras, such as the Olympus PEN or Panasonic G series are also driving the market, and have not drawn customers away from the DSLR market. Growth of interchangeable lens products was up 17%.
The results of the research were revealed at the 2011 Imaging Summit in Nuremberg this week, with GfK global director of imaging Marion Knoche claiming that technical innovations were the main driving force for increased sales.
Admitting that smart phones are likely to have an impact on the sale of low-end digital cameras, with comparable pixel counts and autofocus capability, Knoche says higher end and more technologically advanced compact cameras were being demanded more as users became more enthusiastic about photography and wanted to take the next step.
Compact system cameras
Knoche highlighted that this is especially the case in China and the Asia-Pacific region, which also sees a higher proportion of compact system camera sales than in Europe.
Between January and September 2011, a fifth of all digital cameras sold had more than 16 million pixels, while the majority of mobile handsets sold still had fewer than five million.
Many mobile phones have obvious advantages over cameras, such as wi-fi capability and GPS technology, but more cameras are starting to see these kind of advanced features become inbuilt into the camera.