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February 11, 2005 — The Photo Marketing Association released their annual digital camera review and forecast today, reporting everything from the number of pictures taken to the average price per megapixel. PMA found that digital camera sales are still on the rise, and will be through early 2007 before reaching its peak. Once the peak has been reached, digital camera manufacturers will have to rely on revenues from accessories, services, and consumables such as photo paper and ink.
In 2004, 41.1 percent of U.S. households owned a digital camera. This figure will likely grow in 2005 to 52.4 percent. Digital camera sales grew 40 percent in 2004, selling 18.2 million units in the United States. This is expected to rise to 20.5 million in 2005. Digital cameras will outsell film cameras once again this year, as 82 percent of all cameras sold in 2005 are expected to be digital.
Because the digital camera market is maturing, consumers are buying their second and third digital cameras — and expecting more from them. For the past two years, the 3-3.9 megapixel range has been the best-selling digital camera. However, now that prices are falling and models with more megapixels are becoming available, consumers will be opting above that range this year. In 2003, the average price per megapixel was $119. In 2004, that price fell to $82.
Some marketing research companies have shown camera phones to be in direct competition with digital cameras. According to PMA’s report, this has not happened yet. "Look for camera phones to compete with single-use cameras in the short term and low-end digital cameras in the near future," read the report. 11 percent of U.S. households had a camera phone in 2004.
Printing has become a top issue for digital cameras manufacturers. In 2004, 8 percent of prints were ordered online, 31 percent from a retail store, and 61 percent were printed at home. This figure is expected to change slightly in 2005, with 8 percent online, 40 percent at a retail location, and 52 percent at home. Of the estimated 5.1 billion photographs captured on digital cameras in 2004, only about a third of them were printed. This may change slightly as printing costs plunge. The average price per print in 2004 was 30 cents; it is expected to hit 24 cents in 2005.