Worldwide volume demand for dedicated consumer video devices, such as action cameras, remained resilient in 2017. Futuresource’s new ‘Dedicated Consumer Video Device Market Report’ details how the demand for action cameras continues to be driven by sports enthusiasts, and more increasingly, casual users.
According to the latest report, sales volumes have remained stable across all segments, including traditional camcorders, action cameras and 360-degree consumer cameras, with 12.2 million units overall shipped worldwide.
“The exciting consumer video device market is expected to continue to demonstrate year- on-year improvements. A key factor is its attraction to the thrill seeking, adventure sharing consumer, with its durable form being well-placed to capture extreme feats,” commented Arun Gill, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “This is due to its discreet size, ruggedness, waterproof casing, and its ability to be mounted and secured onto clothing and accessories. This is a clear justification for choosing to use such a device for video capture over the much more fragile smartphone.”
According to Futuresource, the average retail price of action cameras dropped overall by 9% in 2017, driven by a variety of factors. These included the increased availability of higher specification Chinese models in the $50 to $100 range sold on global e-tail sites such as Amazon. Market leader GoPro responded by reducing their camera prices and other brick-based retailers were seen to reduce shelf space for this category.
From a regional perspective, Asia-Pacific is predicted to become the largest region for global shipments in 2018, with consumer interest and adoption of action cameras being encouraged again by falling prices. Currently, household penetration for these devices is just 1% in Asia-Pacific, compared to 8% in North America and 5% across Western Europe.
As retail prices fall, consumers will also benefit from additional sophisticated features being added to action cameras. These include faster processors, improved Wi-Fi transfer and superior content editing features with a greater level of image quality and stabilisation. This includes 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, which is becoming widely available across the whole of the market. Futuresource predicts demand will increase for new users, due to the combination of these lower prices and feature improvements.
Professional adoption of consumer action cameras still remains relatively low, at 15% of worldwide volume in 2017. However, the professional market is set to improve dramatically, with the segment accounting for approximately one-third of global action camera demand by 2022. Key to the professional market is law enforcement, with security, TV production and in-car use being other major avenues for increased sales.
Despite the market still being in its infancy, consumer awareness of 360-degree cameras has risen throughout 2017. Alongside the launch of GoPro’s premium Fusion 360 camera, smartphone attachment cameras by Insta360 have caught the public eye and Samsung have run promotions heavily discounting their range.
However, the category still needs to overcome several barriers, including usability and image/video quality issues, as well as a high retail selling price for premium devices. Futuresource predicts that once these barriers have been overcome and the retail price of premium devices drops, this will help to drive market growth.
“Video sharing trends via social media platforms is also key to stimulating the action camera market,” added Gill. “Currently Instagram, which has become the most popular social sharing platform of choice for millennials, does not support native 360 video. Once support for native 360 becomes wide-ranging across all social sharing platforms the market will see significant improvement. Despite significant barriers facing 360 cameras, the outlook for the market remains positive.”
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