The digital camera market has risen to the challenge set by smartphones, thanks to superzoom cameras and changeable-lens compacts, according to new figures.

Volume sales of superzoom compacts grew by 50% in the UK for the year to May 2012, according to GfK Retail and Technology UK.

Unit sales of compact system cameras shot up 19%.

‘Although smartphones are having an impact on the digital camera market, the main impact is clearly on traditional “point-and-shoot” camera sales,’ said a spokesman for GfK.

‘Despite the total market decreasing by 3% in volume sales from 2006-2011, feature-rich cameras are still drawing large amounts of consumer interest.

‘Changeable-lens cameras have only seen one year of decline in the past six years, compared with five years of double-digit year-on-year growth.’

GfK account manager Aline Marchal said that high levels of fixed-lens camera ownership, coupled with ‘low consumer confidence’, are probably the key reasons behind a ‘dampening’ of the digital camera market overall.

Marchal explained that this decline has ‘skewed’ market figures because fixed-lens compacts make up the bulk of camera sales.

‘It is still important to remember that there are still many opportunities for the industry, borne out by the increased demand for higher quality photographic products.

‘Additionally, interest in photography is still growing, encouraged by factors such as social networking.’

GfK classes a ‘superzoom’ compact camera as those with an optical zoom of 10x or more.