The popularity of social media is driving the proliferation of Internet-capable devices, including digital still cameras with wi-fi capabilities. Research by GfK revealed that nearly one in five digital cameras sold in Southeast Asia last year was wi-fi capable.
The research involved the markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam where more than 776,000 units of wi-fi capable digital still cameras were sold in 2012. This represents a 90 percent surge in sales volume over the previous year, for a combined market of nearly US$240 million, the study noted.
"By December 2012, one in every three cameras sold in the region's more technologically advanced markets of Singapore and Malaysia were equipped with the wi-fi feature, contributing to nearly two-fifth of total dollar sales in the respective countries for that month," said Gerard Tan, account director, Digital Technology, GfK Asia.
GfK Asia noted that wi-fi ready digital cameras were already in the market as early as 2005. Yet, it was not until in the last two years when they became popular. Part of the interest in this kind of cameras is the popularity of social media, which allows photo and multimedia sharing possible.
At the end of 2012, there were around 160 models of digital still cameras offering wi-fi capability in the market, compared to 89 models the previous year, and an even lower 45 models in 2010, GfK also noted.
With the popularity of wi-fi capable devices, GfK research also showed that average prices of the digital still cameras with this feature has decreased, making these cameras more affordable. The market for digital still cameras is also challenged by other wi-fi capable devices with the same photo capability features, such as smartphones.
"The digital camera market is facing strong challenges from smartphones which today are able to offer comparable functions and good quality photos of as high as 13 megapixels," added Tan. "The introduction of the wi-fi feature in cameras is definitely a right step forward to stimulate and boost the camera market in this Internet age," he concluded.