18.2 mln digital cameras sold in 2004, 20.5 mln will be sold in 2005

Unit sales of digital cameras will rise to 20.5 mln in 2005 from an estimated 18.2 mln in 2004, industry trade group Photo Marketing Association said. The increase of 13% pales beside the rapid gains of more than 30% in each of the last three years. The overall camera market, including film-based models, is expected to be flat in 2005, after growing by 3% in 2004. Total film sales are expected to fall 18% in 2005 to 532 mln rolls, after sliding 19% last year. Sales of single-use cameras (which are also called “disposable” and are counted as rolls of film) are expected to slip to 217 mln in 2005 from 218 mln. Some 40% of the 7.7 bln digital images printed in the United States this year will be made at retail stores, up from 31% in 2004. By contrast, 18.2 mln traditional film prints will be made in 2005, down 18% from last year. Printing of digital pictures at home will shrink to 52% in 2005 from 61% in 2004. Online photo developers are seen staying at about 8%.