Camera Phones Sales to Grow to 81% by 2010

Worldwide sales of camera phones will account for 48 percent of total worldwide mobile phone sales in 2006, growing to 81 percent by 2010, according to Gartner.

Worldwide sales of camera phones will account for 48 percent of total worldwide mobile phone sales in 2006, growing to 81 percent by 2010, according to new forecasts from Gartner. Worldwide sales of camera phones, which have almost tripled since 2004, will reach 460 million in 2006, an increase of 43 percent from 2005. This trend is set to continue, leading to sales of one billion camera phones by 2010.

"A camera is a feature that consumers expect to see in new devices whether they are interested in using it or not," said Carolina Milanesi, principal research analyst at Gartner. "With improved quality of camera phone pictures, users can now really enjoy viewing pictures on their PCs, printing them or uploading pictures directly from their phones onto their blog, thanks to services such as Flickr."

Gartner says that the 'mega pixel race' will continue to gather pace as consumers apply the same judgement in selecting camera phones as in selecting digital cameras. "Consumers' perception that a higher pixel count translates into a higher quality device will encourage mobile phone manufacturers to continue to increase this," Milanesi added.

In addition manufacturers are also aware that size remains a key criterion in the purchase of a mobile phone, which has led some companies to look into alternative solutions, such as liquid lenses. This technology is capable of creating sharp pictures in ways very similar to the human eye and offering several advantages like size, cost, speed and durability.

For the past three years, the market has been dominated by sales of camera phones with less than one mega pixels. This will reach 51 percent of total mobile phone sales in 2006. By 2007, Gartner predicts that more than half of the camera phones will have at least one or two mega pixels.

In Western Europe, the largest market for camera phones, sales will exceed 122 million by 2006, a 28 percent increase from 2005. "In 2006, 1.3 and two mega pixel resolutions will become the minimum requirement for mid-tier to high-end phones and a 3.2 mega pixel resolution will be used for flagship products. This will increase to five mega pixels in 2007," Milanesi said.

In 2006, North America will be the second largest market in the world and will reach 106.8 million units in 2006, a 41 percent increase from 2005. North America will be closely followed by Asia Pacific where sales will total 160.7 million units in 2006.

In Japan, camera phones will account for 95 percent of total mobile phone sales in 2007, when it will reach its highest penetration level. Over the past twelve months, there has been a strong demand for non-camera-embedded devices in Japan, which encouraged operators to introduce them in their portfolios.

By 2010, Gartner predicts that Western Europe will equal Japan’s penetration levels to reach 93.6 percent followed very closely by North America at 93.4 percent.

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