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Megapixel Display Devices Surge in 2004

Megapixel-enabled camera phones accounted for 3% camera phone shipments in 2003. As overall camera phone growth surges, megapixel-enabled handsets will grow at a 700% rate in 2004 to account for 12% of total camera phone shipments. Because of the price/value sensitivity of traditional cellular users, camera phone vendors will offer a relatively lower level of technical functionality to remain affordable to mass-market users, driving camera phones to displace DSC usage in part in lower-tier DSC price categories (US$250 retail and lower).

This report analyzes global camera phone sell-in by vendor in 2003. It forecasts global camera phone sales by megapixel sensor quality through 2009. The report also compares annualized camera phone shipments by vendor with the top 6 digital still camera vendors worldwide in 2003.

David Kerr, Vice President of the Global Wireless Practice, noted, “In the clearest sign yet of mobile digital convergence, NEC, Nokia, Samsung and Panasonic all outsold Sony, the world’s largest digital still camera vendor in 2003. Only Sony / Sony Ericsson and Samsung, of the major traditional digital still camera vendors, are positioned to exploit massive camera phone growth through the end of the decade. Those DSC vendors without a strong cellular division or wireless partner, such as Olympus will find themselves under increasing competitive pressure in the long-term.”

Report author, Neil Mawston, noted, “NEC, with a 16 percent global share, was the world’s leading camera phone vendor in 2003. With more than 90 percent of its shipments including a camera module by the end of 2003, NEC has made imaging the centerpiece of its device strategy.”

Other key findings from this report include: 84 million camera phones were shipped worldwide in 2003 versus 49 million digital still cameras; Asia is still the largest demand center, but Europe will represent over 25 percent of sales in 2004; Tumbling wholesale ASPs and strong retail subsidies will fuel 2004 growth; Vendors are driving camera phone adoption by adding functionality that mimics the imaging form factor and highly familiar man-machine interface that users are already highly familiar with through traditional film-based and digital still camera use; more than half of all camera phones will have 1 Megapixel plus resolution by 2006.

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