Data Visualization Shows Camera Market Dwarfed by Smartphones

James Eagle created a fascinating data visualization that lays bare the dominance of the smartphone market over the camera.

The self-described “data junkie” entitled his graph, “Have smartphones replaced cameras?” Eagle posted it to Data is Beautiful on Reddit.

Starting in 1950, it details the film camera market which climbs from less than a million products sold in the early 50s to an explosion in sales when the Kodak Brownie was introduced in 1955.

By 1970, film cameras are at over five million units sold per annum and the market continues to grow exponentially with the likes of the Hasselblad 500C Apollo Moon camera and the Polaroid all paving the way in a successful open market.

The analog camera markets peaks around 1997 with over 36 million units sold per year. By the early 2000s, digital has surpassed film, turbocharging camera sales.

But the digital camera market is quickly dwarfed by smartphones. The handy devices overtaking digital camera sales around 2006. This should be of no surprise since smartphones have far more use than just to take photos.

However, the digital camera market continues to rise, reaching over 120 million units sold in 2010. After which it dramatically declines and today sells 8.4 million units per year. While smartphones sit at around 1,433 million.

Eagle, the graph’s creator, says that the work is not a comment on “causation or correlation.”

“It is about the lifecycle of technology and how one form of technology replaces another over time,” he tells PetaPixel.

“Disruptive technology has shaped the evolution of the global economy we live in ever since the industrial revolution,” he says.

“That pace of disruption is now picking up as we enter the digital age and the rate of technological innovation increases.

“The emergence of the internet and smartphone has completely changed the way we as human beings live for instance.

“Our lives compared to how we lived 50 years ago has changed dramatically.

“This includes our tastes, fashion and how we socialize.

“I wanted to capture an example of a technology that has gone into decline because of technological change, and I chose the camera.”

For more of Eagle’s data work visit his Twitter.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.