Cameraphone Sales Increase Nearly Five-fold
By Carlo Longino, Mon Mar 29 17:15:00 GMT 2004

From the "Unsurprising" Dept., 84 million cameraphones were sold in 2003, up from just 18 million in 2002. One in every six mobile handsets sold worldwide last year had an integrated camera.

This is the first time I can remember seeing specific cameraphone market share figures broken out, but it's yet another sign of the devices' clout in the marketplace. NEC sold 13.1 million last year, while Nokia sold 11 million, followed by Samsung, Panasonic and Sony Ericsson. Overall, 16 percent of handsets sold were cameraphones -- a number one investment bank says will jump to 44 percent this year.

While Asian vendors dominate the list, fourth-quarter figures show a shift may be underway as the devices gain steam outside Japan and South Korea. Nokia sold 4.5 million units in the last three months of the year, outpacing Samsung and Sony Ericsson, both which sold 3.9 million units, with NEC and Panasonic falling slightly behind in the quarter.

It is interesting, however, to compare the global figures with some numbers from Japan that came out today too. IDC says about that 90 percent of the phones sold in Japan in the fourth quarter of last year were cameraphones, and almost half had megapixel cameras. By extension, that means roughly a little more than half of the world's cameraphones were sold in Japan. NEC was the top vendor in the country, followed by Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba, Mitsubishi and Sony Ericsson.

But perhaps more significant is that cameraphone sales blew away standard digital camera sales last year -- at 84 million versus just 50 million.