How many picture taking devices are sold world-wide?


How are most of the world’s pictures captured? What imaging devices are most commonly sold, and how many of them are identified as cameras? To help answer those questions are two graphs with some interesting data on the global sales volume of picture taking devices, and the global sales volume of digital still cameras.

These graphs come from a presentation by Christian Müller-Rieker, Executive Director of the Photoindustrie-Verband (The German Imaging Association). I’m grateful to tweets from @eric_perlberg that circulated the second of the two graphs below, and provided the Japanese magazine report that originally carried them.  After a bit of online digging, I found that the Photoindustrie-Verband is a co-organiser of Photokina, the biannual trade fair that will be held in Cologne in September 2014. Müller-Rieker’s presentation was part of a 16 April press conference held in Beijing (and perhaps other venues too) promoting Photokina.

The first graph detailing the global sales volume of picture taking devices shows 2.25 billion devices sold in 2014, with the rapidly increasing category of smartphones making up more than half that total. Digital cameras – 89 million devices in 2013 – now comprise only 4% of global sales of devices that take pictures.


The second graph details the global sales volume of digital still cameras – a very small subset of picture taking devices. It shows a significant decline in point-and-shoot cameras – a category squeezed by the rise of smart phones – but a substantial increase in “premium fixed lens” cameras and an increase in SLR cameras. Given that this data refers to “digital still cameras” it is not clear whether the SLR category includes or excludes video-capabale DSLRs.


4 Responses to “How many picture taking devices are sold world-wide?”

  1. Paul Melcher

    Thank you for this David. A couple of questions:

    – Are the numbers for 2014 projections ? if so, do they mention the level of confidence ?
    – What is the difference between a smartphone and a featurephone ?

    thanks !

    Paul M

    • David Campbell

      I think the 2014 numbers look like projections but I don’t know confidence level. I’m going to try and find out more. Featurephones are lower priced and less capable devices…they do more than call/text, but nowhere as much as a smartphone.


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