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Digital still cameras with Wi-Fi capabilities gaining grounds in Southeast Asia

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

The proliferation of social media along with rising popularity for Internet connected devices has hit another electronic gadget which is seeing surging adoption across the region. In the last two years, digital still cameras with Wi Fi capabilities have been enjoying brisk sales in Southeast Asia, registering nearly two fold value growth in the span of a year, as reported by recent GfK findings.

Total cameras with Wi-Fi capabilities sold across the key Southeast Asia markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam reached more than 776,000 units in 2012, reflecting a 90 percent surge in sales volume over the previous year. This segment has generally been seeing uptrend in demand for each consecutive quarter in five of the six countries.

"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," observed Gerard Tan, Account Director for Digital Technology at GfK Asia.

Although the first Wi-Fi cameras have already been in the market as early as 2005, sales of these cameras only started taking off in the last two years, in tandem with the widening range of models major manufacturers started offering during this period time. At the end of last year, there were around 160 models offering Wi-Fi capability in the market, compared to 89 models the previous year, and an even lower 45 models in 2010.

Furthermore, Wi-Fi is no longer a feature found only in fixed lens cameras but has in recent months expanded to mirrorless and DSLR cameras. According to GfK findings, the combined sales volume of these two camera segments spiked across Southeast Asia in quarter four to make up nearly a fifth (19%) of all camera volume sales, compared to only less than 5 percent in quarter three.

The resultant stiff competition among manufacturers from the influx of cameras with the WiFi capability has subsequently brought down average prices, lending to its increasing affordability. For instance, the average price for a fixed lens camera with Wi-Fi capability while cost USD 357 in Singapore in 2011, sold at only around USD 251 last year. A similar trend is displayed in Malaysia which saw prices dropped by 39 percent in one year.

"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," commented 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.

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Tags: wi-fi