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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Smartphones continue to affect camera and handheld game console sales

​Smartphones are still eating into the market share of portable consumer electronics devices, according to a new report from ABI Research.

Annual shipments of digital cameras are expected to fall by over 11% worldwide compared with last year - and by almost 20% in North America. Meanwhile, shipments of handheld game players are expected to drop by 4% worldwide year-on-year and by nearly 13% in the North American market.

The report notes that consumer electronics devices with built-in mobile connectivity - such as the Sony PS Vita and Samsung Galaxy Camera - are trying to bridge the smartphone divide but are also facing their own challenges.

Michael Inouye, senior analyst at ABI Research, said “Early sales of Sony’s 3G Vita were quite strong, likely attributable to pre-launch bundles which favored the cellular version – more recent holiday bundles have since favored the Wi-Fi-only model. Incremental monthly fees consumers must pay when adding these devices to their cellular data plans combined with metered data often overweigh the benefits of mobile devices excluding smartphones and tablets.”

However, stand-alone devices are still preferred by some consumers. Not only do these CE devices often offer higher quality and simpler user interfaces than smartphones, they can also deliver exclusive content or features that aren’t available on a mobile handset.

Sam Rosen, TV & video practice director at ABI Research, said “While the auditory and visual quality of content in many ways is less important today than in the past, some consumers still look for these features. A subset of customers still look to higher end single-purpose cameras for higher image quality and portable game players for better game-play quality over Smartphone feature sets. When CE manufacturers and operators work together to develop win-win data plans, and reduce the cost burden of the additional hardware, these classes will again find favor with consumers.”

[Research service]

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