Nikon Sees Smartphones as Answer to Declining Compact Camera Sales

If your business is to make and sell digital cameras, you might find yourself miffed at how many people are willing to settle for the optics built into their smartphones. For consumers, it's all about convenience and cost. Let's face it, a dedicated point-n-shoot isn't a priority for spur-of-the-moment shots when a smartphone is capable of taking serviceable photos, which some users will gunk up with an Instagram filter anyway.

Rather than rage against this phenomenon, Nikon president Makoto Kimura is choosing to embrace it at he looks at different ways to take advantage of the rapid smartphone growth, especially as compact camera sales go on the decline, Bloomberg reports.

Nikon Building

"The number of people taking snapshots is exploding by use of smartphones that sold 750 million or so last year and are still growing," Kimura notes. "We've centralized our approach to offer products to that bigger market."

Kimura expects the compact camera market to dip 12 percent in Nikon's current financial year. Offsetting this decline is an expected 9 percent bump in high-end models with exchangeable lenses, especially since these models tend to cost so much more, but Kimura isn't willing to put all his eggs in a single basket.

Instead, he hinted at a different kind of device, one that will "change the concept of cameras," adding that "it could be a non-camera consumer product." He wouldn't say if Nikon was in the midst of developing a mobile phone, but given the attention Kimura's putting on smartphone owners, it wouldn't be the least bit surprising.