Global Industry Overview: Photographic Equipment and Supplies

Manufacturers of photographic equipment and supplies provide the world's cameras, film, developing and enlarging equipment, photographic chemicals and papers, and related supplies. Industry output includes both still and motion cameras, but not video cameras, which are discussed in Audio and Video Equipment.

Industry Snapshot

The photographic equipment and supplies industry's products include five general categories: still picture equipment; motion picture equipment; photocopying and microfilming equipment; sensitized photographic film, plates, paper, and cloth; and prepared photographic chemicals.

In established markets, growth in the photographic goods industry was generally fueled by the introduction of new products using innovative technology, particularly digital cameras and one-time-use (OTU) disposable cameras. By 2003, digital cameras outsold traditional film cameras. As a result, the overall film sector began to weaken, although some consumers were returning to the use of film prints for digital images. Major industry players began to scale back their Advanced Photo System (APS) camera activities in favor of digital cameras, sales of which were expected to grow 13 percent in 2005 to 20.5 million, according to the Photo Marketing Association International (PMAI). The fastest growing sector was digital cameras with four or more megapixels. Consequently, major companies in the industry began to focus less on combating digital technology and more on developing products for the organization and storage of digital images. Industry analysts expected the digital market to remain steady as the sector became saturated. However, the Japanese trade group Camera and Imagine Products Association (CIPA) in 2009 reported a projected decrease in digital cameras for 2010 as the market reached the saturation point. Overall sales dropped by 11.6 percent in 2009 to 105.9 million units over 2008. However, integrated-lens camera sales were projected to continue rising by as much as 3 percent, and sales of digital cameras with interchangeable lenses were expected to be 11.1 percent more than in 2009.