|The survey said the number of digital
cameras sold in Japan reached 1,090,000, and those sold overseas
registered 1,010,000. Both exceeded a million for the first time.
Sales started taking off mainly in North America in the latter
half of 1997. Nikkei Market Access forecasts that sales outside
of Japan will exceed sales in Japan in 1998. It also said that
the number of digital cameras shipped worldwide in 1998 will
reach 3.2 million.
Japanese consumers are shifting to digital cameras with higher
resolutions. A high-resolution camera with about 1 million pixels
previously was priced at about 300,000 yen (US$2,360). But in the
summer of 1997, Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. and Seiko Epson Corp.
started marketing new cameras with 800,000 pixels at a price of
about 80,000 yen (US$630). The introduction of these two cameras
triggered wider marketing of low-priced and high-resolution
cameras by other companies.
The Nikkei Market Access survey said that the ratio of digital
still cameras with more than 800,000 pixels shipped in Japan was
about 7 percent in the first quarter of 1997, but that the ratio
rose to more than 30 percent in the fourth quarter of the same
In 1998, cameras with more than 1 million pixels are expected to
account for about a third of the shipments in Japan.
The popularity of such low-priced but high-resolution digital
cameras greatly altered the market in 1997.
Casio Computer Co., Ltd. accounted for a 40-percent share of the
digital cameras shipped in Japan in 1996, but its share fell to
about 20 percent in 1997. On the other hand, Olympus, Seiko Epson
and Kodak Japan Ltd. increased their shipments from the latter
half of 1997.
Casio maintained the top share of Japan's digital camera market
in 1997, and competition among the top six camera makers was
Details of the survey will be carried in the Nikkei Market Access
Report, and also on the
Nikkei Market Access' Web Site. They are available in
Japanese for members only.
Chart : Shipments of Digital Still Cameras
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