Huge consumer demand during 2003 boosted shipments of digital cameras into western Europe by over 95 per cent to reach almost 16 million units.
According to research by IDC, end users spent $5.9bn on digital cameras, bringing in healthy revenues to the key players in the industry.
"As predicted, in 2003 we witnessed another phenomenal year for the industry," said Paul Withington, senior research analyst for IDC's European peripherals group, in a statement.
"Prices dropped even further and vendors repositioned their products to capture the next wave of digital enthusiasm.
"This has translated into a mass-market adoption particularly within the 3 megapixel segment, which became the area where vendors found their greatest success."
IDC expects 45 per cent overall growth in 2004 across western Europe, and said that the market will have matured towards the end of its five-year forecast period to 2008.
Handset vendors will continue to increase resolution on camera phones, and IDC predicts almost 20 million unit shipments in the 3 megapixel and above range by 2006. This will have an impact on the low end of the digital camera market, according to the analyst.
"Digital camera vendors will need to respond by offering even higher resolutions and enriched features such as increased shutter speed, higher optical zoom ratios, and onboard editing features such as red-eye reduction," said Withington. "There will be blood lost but both technologies will continue to co-exist."
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