US-based market researcher Infotrends (now Keypoint Intelligence) has conducted a survey of recent camera releases, noting a significant drop in the total number of new models in 2016.
Infotrends analyst Carrie Sylvester found that 57 models were introduced last year, down from 72 models introduced in 2015, and 98 in 2014.
Even though mass market point-and-shoot demand has plummeted, digital compacts still comprised almost half of all new releases, with 28 models. In 2014, over two-thirds of new releases were point-and-shoot models, indicating a delayed response by the camera companies to the declining market.
Mirrorless interchangeable cameras made up 28 percent of new introductions – up from around 20 percent in the previous two years. Eight years ago there were no mirrorless interchangeables released.
Infotrends noted that Wi-Fi is becoming ubiquitous, with 84 percent of new releases with built-in connectivity. All new releases from Panasonic, Sony, Olympus, and Pentax in 2016 included built-in Wi-Fi.
‘The ONLY way for a traditional camera to compete in these smartphone-centric times is to make taking and sharing photos more convenient,’ wrote Carrie Sylvester.
And although resolution as measured in megapixels is no longer the hero spec it once was, the 2016 camera market was dominated by higher resolution models. More than 70 percent of the cameras introduced this year were 20 megapixels or above.
Ms Sylvester concluded with the following ‘InfoTrends Opinion’: ‘Although the smartphone has become the popular device for everyday and special event photo taking habits for most consumers, there remain pockets of opportunity that exist for cameras.
‘InfoTrends continues to maintain that smartphones introduce people to photography that may not have had interest until they got a new smartphone or a cool new photo app. This interest in photography might lead to buying (or at least wanting) a standalone camera. Because they have already been taking pictures with their smartphone these new camera buyers will likely be more interested in stepping up to a digital camera with advanced features, enhanced image sensors, interchangeable lenses or a camera with all of the above.
‘InfoTrends’ 2016 Mobile Imaging end-user study shows that nearly 30 percent of current camera phone owners that don’t own a traditional camera say that they are planning to buy a camera sooner because of their mobile phone photography experience, which should be welcome news to the ears of camera vendors.’