U.S. shipments of digital cameras grew 17 percent in the second quarter, fueled by gift-giving for graduating students and Father's Day, with Canon Inc. retaining its No. 1 rank in market share, according to an industry report.
Some 6.3 million units were shipped in the quarter, research firm IDC said in its U.S. Digital Camera Market Share Review report.
The growth showed that there was still life in that segment of the photography market, but also indicated that the boom days are almost over for the maturing product.
Growth is already past its peak in Japan, and slowing in the United States as the excitement over cameras wanes and more consumers buy mobile phones with built-in picture-taking capabilities.
In all, U.S. shipments are expected to grow 8 to 10 percent this year, a mere shadow of the 21 percent rise in 2005 and 60 percent gain in 2003, according to IDC.
IDC said Canon remained market share leader for the second consecutive quarter, with 22 percent, while Sony Corp. had 16 percent.
Eastman Kodak Co. remained in third place, with a 15 percent share. It was the second consecutive quarter in that position for Kodak, which previously had been in first place.
The IDC report comes one day after Kodak, which has been shifting its business to digital photography and services and away from flagging film sales, said its second quarter loss was wider than a year ago on disappointing sales, and saw its shares tumble after it reduced revenue forecasts.
IDC analyst Christopher Chute noted that Kodak's market share slump comes from a planned reduction in sales of low-end cameras, typically costing less than $100, where they hoped to earn profits from follow-up sales of printer paper and supplies. Kodak intends to focus on pricier, more profitable models.
They have pulled back from the proliferation strategy where they seed the market with cameras and look for profits on the back end, Chute said. They have to start looking for profits on the front end.
On the other hand, Japan's Canon last week posted group operating profit in April-June that rose 33 percent from a year ago, helped by strong demand for digital cameras.