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*May 11, 2005 *– Kodak shipped 900,000 digital cameras to U.S. retailers from January to March, grabbing the top market share, market research firm IDC reported Monday. Shipments are up 41 percent from the same period last year. Not far behind is Canon, whose shipments are up 72 percent with 850,000 domestically. Sony hung on for the third spot in the U.S. market with 800,000 shipments.
The digital camera market boomed in 2004, when they were said to be the most popular electronics gifts of the year, the Consumer Electronics Association reported. 22.3 million digital cameras were shipped in the United States last year, compared with 16.4 million the year before. Some analysts predict that the market has peaked and sales will only slide this year. However, IDC reports that 27.3 million units are expected to ship in the United States this year.
Kodak took the biggest slice of the American pie with 20.4 percent of the market, IDC stated. Canon came in second with 19.3 percent and Sony was third with 18.1 percent. The Big Three have interchanged positions in the past year, but remain solid at the top. Another research firm, Lyra Research, found the same U.S. market share results, with Kodak, Canon, and Sony leading in that order. Olympus was a distant fourth with 10.9 percent of the market and 480,000 shipments. HP, Fujifilm, and Nikon were fifth through seventh respectively, all with single digits of market share.
With a wide spread of digital photography services, Kodak is doing well during its three-year restructuring plan to cut 15,000 jobs. Most of the jobs were cut in film factories, echoing the decline of traditional film sales. Kodak’s film division sales were down 13 percent during the fourth quarter of the 2004 fiscal year, as its digital division experienced a 23 percent increase in sales. An earlier IDC study reported that Kodak EasyShare printers were the best-selling snapshot photo printers in the United States in 2004.