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  • World's Digital Camera Shipments Up 62 Pct. in 1998
  • November 30, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Worldwide shipments of digital still cameras in 1998 are expected to total 3,098,000 units, up 62 percent from 1997, according to Nikkei Market Access.
    Shipments in the domestic market are estimated at 1,449,000 units, up 44 percent, and those to overseas markets are 1,649,000 units, up 81 percent.

    According to the membership information service, the 1998 growth rate of shipments in the domestic market dropped from the previous year's 147 percent, while the growth rate in overseas markets for the 1998 third quarter surpassed that in the Japanese market.

    The growth rate in overseas markets topped that in the domestic market not only in the third quarter, but also in the first and second quarters.

    If the fourth quarter continues to show the same trend, the growth rate in overseas markets will be higher than that in Japan for the full year 1998. This will be the first time since Nikkei Market Access began conducting the survey that the growth rate overseas will exceed that in the domestic market for a full year.

    Nikkei Market Access estimates 1999 shipments of digital cameras in the domestic market at 1.8 million units, up 24 percent from 1998, and shipments to overseas markets, which includes the United States, Europe and Asia, at 2.38 million units, up 44 percent.

    As for manufacturers' market share, the survey showed that Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. had the largest share of 22.1 percent in the 1998 first half (January-June), followed by Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. with 19.8 percent (See chart).

    For manufacturers of digital still cameras, one of the requisites for maintaining the largest market share is that their products must constantly occupy the top positions in the sales rankings of big retail shops.

    In such shops, popular cameras ranked among the top 10 account for more than 70 percent of shops' total sales in most cases. Moreover, the products' life cycle is short, around three months. Taking these factors into consideration, Fuji and Olympus are releasing new, popular products in rapid succession. This is the primary reason the two manufacturers' combined share topped 40 percent.

    In the United States, 1998 shipments of digital cameras are expected to reach more than one million units, up 50 percent from last year. The manufacturer with the largest share in the 1998 first half was Sony Corp., with 38.0 percent. The globally renowned manufacturer of consumer electronics has been selling its Digital Mavica in the United States since the second half of 1997. That digital camera uses floppy disks for recording media. The camera became a hit product.

    In Europe, 1997 digital camera shipments totaled only 230,000 units. But in 1998, shipments are expected to increase nearly three-fold. Olympus had the largest market share of 28.0 percent in the 1998 first half.

    Chart: Domestic market share

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    Related stories:
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    (Nikkei Market Access)

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    Updated: Fri Dec 4 15:59:56 1998 PDT