Smartphones take a quarter of photos, videos in US

When it comes to taking photos and videos, an increasing number of consumers are reaching into their pocket instead of a camera bag, a new study suggests.

Smartphones are gobbling up market share from traditional cameras, new research says.
(Credit: Josh Lowensohn/CNET)

According to new research by the NPD group, smartphones hit a major milestone this year, accounting for 27 per cent of photos taken in its Imaging Confluence Study. That's up from the 17 per cent that the gadget class garnered at the same time last year.

What made room for that growth was a decrease in the number of photos taken by standalone cameras, the firm said. This year, those devices came in at 44 per cent, down from 2010's 52 per cent. Breaking that down further, point-and-shoot cameras dropped 17 per cent year over year, with pocket camcorders falling 13 per cent and flash camcorders declining 8 per cent.

"Consumers who use their mobile phones to take pictures and video were more likely to do so instead of their camera when capturing spontaneous moments," said Liz Cutting, NPD's executive director and senior imaging analyst in a statement. "But, for important events, single-purpose cameras or camcorders are still largely the device of choice."

Signs of that trend have more readily been seen on Yahoo's Flickr photo-sharing service, which makes public the usage of various camera models. Apple's iPhone made waves in 2008, quickly ascending to the top echelons of the service's camera rankings, taking out heavyweights from Canon and Nikon. And, earlier this year, the iPhone 4 took the top spot overall.

One bright spot in NPD's numbers was for cameras with a detachable lens, which increased 12 per cent year over year. That was coupled with a 16 per cent increase in the number of point-and-shoot cameras with big zooming capabilities — something that the vast majority of smartphone cameras can't do.


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