History of Camera Sales, with Smartphones Included


From Michael Zhang, writing at PetaPixel:

A few months ago, we shared a chart showing how sales the camera market have changed between 1947 and 2014. The data shows that after a large spike in the late 2000s, the sales of dedicated cameras have been shrinking by double digit figures each of the following years. Mix in data for smartphone sales, and the chart can shed some more light on the state of the industry.

Photographer Sven Skafisk decided to see what the same chart would look like with smartphone sales factored in. Here’s the chart he came up with using data from Gartner Inc. (The figures don’t include the sales of PDAs and “dumb phones”).

The chart is reproduced above. Recent smartphone sales are represented by truncated peaks on the right hand side —  Those off scale peaks are above 1.2 million per year and still rising fast. In other words, a gigantic explosion in the global availability of cameras, allowing for ubiquitous image and video capture, world-wide.

P.S. Here are a couple of additional facts: the number of photos captured each year has also been growing exponentially since the beginning of photography — digital took over film’s volume over the past decade or two — and 92% of smartphone users worldwide say that the camera is the most used feature on their phones.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite xkcd cartoons:


But in a much more serious example, this technology tidal wave made possible the capture of video footage of the murder of Walter Scott.  Let’s hope the spread of citizen cameras everywhere is a force for positive change.

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