Consumers’ Use of Smartphones for Picture Taking Grows: CEA

Consumers’ Use of Smartphones for Picture Taking Grows: CEA


Arlington, VA—Consumers are increasingly satisfying their digital photography needs with multiuse devices such as smartphones and tablets, according to a new study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The Changing Landscape of Digital Photography found that while a majority of consumers, 55%, still consider a point-and-shoot camera as their primary photography device, the number who consider their smartphone to be their primary picture-taking device has tripled in two years to 18%.

CEA believes, however, that “the rise of mobile devices expands photography options and creates new opportunities within the digital imaging industry.” Savvy consumers understand that the higher image quality of digital SLRs and point-and-shoot cameras is important to the photographic outcome. In fact, 93% of respondents ranked digital point-and-shoots highest in image quality.

But portability and device accessibility are also major convenience factors, with 74% of consumers favoring smartphones when it comes to portability. According to CEA, 61% of photos are taken at the spur of the moment, and the ubiquitous nature of smartphones allows the average consumer to take 35 photos per month, versus 32 photos per month on their point-and-shoot cameras.

“Consumers don’t want to miss out on that great moment. Although they value the quality of digital SLRs and point-and-shoots, smartphones and tablets are great for that quick, can’t-miss shot,” said Chris Ely, manager, industry relations, CEA, who oversaw the study. “Since consumers always have their smartphones at the tip of their fingers these devices are ideal to capture and share the spontaneity of their lives.”

Next to portability, sharing capabilities were also found to be paramount to the use of smartphones in photography; the study revealed that consumers with smartphones and tablets were more likely to use sharing-related applications, such as sending images from one phone to another (38%), e-mailing photos (58%), posting photos to social networking sites (48%) and texting photos (45%). In deed, a whopping 74% of respondents ranked smartphones highest on ease of sharing.

“Smartphones and tablets will expand the scope of the digital imaging industry,” added Ely. “The rise of new digital imaging applications and features for these devices allows consumers to interact and use images in new ways, creating new opportunities for the industry.”

These factors have not been lost on the imaging industry, however, as more and more point-and-shoot cameras are coming to market with wireless capabilities, including recent models from Kodak, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and Nikon, to name a few of the major players in imaging. And more camera makers, such as Fujifilm and Pentax, have built in wireless capabilities in their models by making them compatible with Eye-Fi wireless memory cards. New point-and-shoot models are fighting back with such features as the ability to offer live video streaming via built-in Wi-Fi and direct uploading to social networks.

The Changing Landscape of Digital Photography
was conducted in December 2011. It was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, a comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry.