UK sales of fixed-lens digital compact cameras have fallen every month for a year, recently dropping as low as 23%, reveal retail figures seen by Amateur Photographer. Are smartphones to blame?

UK sales of fixed-lens digital compact cameras have fallen every month for a year, recently dropping as low as 23%, reveal retail figures seen by Amateur Photographer.

Since the start of 2011, consumers snapped up 9% fewer compact cameras, according to GfK Retail and Technology. This marks a 14% drop in sales revenue terms for the period from January to July.

?It?s realistic to assume some of the loss in compact [unit sales] is down to smartphones. Smartphones are getting better,? said the Photo Marketing Association (PMA)?s director of UK operations Nigel McNaught.

In July 2011, the number of compact cameras sold plunged 13% ? representing a 16% drop in revenue terms ? compared to the same month a year earlier.

This marks a slight improvement on March, when sales value declined by 23% (16% in volume), compared to March 2010, according to GfK.

Separate figures compiled by PMA, which is a trade body, show that revenue generated from compact cameras fell £46m in the UK for the year to June 2011.

By coincidence, this figure equals the total value of interchangeable-lens compact system camera (CSC) sales over the 12 months, according to McNaught.

?In pound terms, the [fall in compact sales] has been made up by an increase in DSLRs and compact system cameras,? he added.

DSLR sales volume rose 9% in the year to June compared to the previous year, and demand for CSCs shot up 166%, according to figures given to PMA. McNaught told us that compact sales fell 5% in June.

Although McNaught concedes that rising demand for CSCs has failed to match falling sales of fixed-lens compacts in unit terms, he said it would be ?scaremongering? to suggest that the smartphone spells the death of the compact camera.

Lower revenue from compact cameras largely reflects a fall in prices. McNaught pointed out that consumers can now snap up a ?high-spec? compact for as little as £79.