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Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Kodak Lead Grows in Digital-Camera Market

The company extends lead over Japanese rivals Canon and Sony in U.S. digital-camera market

Eastman Kodak Co. is stretching its lead over Japanese rivals Canon Inc. and Sony Corp. in the U.S. digital-camera market.

Kodak shipped 1.25 million point-and-shoot digital cameras to domestic retailers in the April-to-June quarter 51 percent more than in the second quarter of 2004 and its market share rose to 23.8 percent from 18.3 percent a year ago, according to research firm IDC of Framingham, Mass.

Canon Inc. solidified its second-place ranking with 1.15 million shipments in the second quarter, and its slice of the U.S. market surged to 21.9 percent from 15.2 percent a year ago, IDC analyst Christopher Chute said Tuesday.

Sony Corp., a longtime front-runner, was in third spot with 980,000 shipments, or an 18.6 percent share.

Olympus Corp. barely hung on to fourth place, shipping 335,000 cameras as its market share sank to 6.4 percent from 10.9 percent a year ago. Next were Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard Co. with 6.2 percent, Fuji Photo Film Co. with 5.3 percent and Nikon Corp. with 4.5 percent.

In only its second survey of digital cameras, J.D. Power and Associates reported Tuesday that Kodak's Easyshare models ranked highest in U.S. customer satisfaction in two segments cameras priced $200 to $399 and cameras priced below $200.

Sony was first for cameras in the $400-to-$599 and $600-plus categories, according to a sampling of 4,256 customers who bought a digital camera between January and July.

Digital cameras, a novelty item in the late 1990s, began outselling film cameras in the United States in 2003.

"By the end of this year, they'll be in about 50 percent" of American households, Chute said.

An estimated 26 million digital cameras will be sold this year in North America, up 16 percent from last year, and the market could peak at nearly 28 million in 2006, according to InfoTrends, a research firm in Weymouth, Mass.

Worldwide, Kodak ranks third in consumer digital camera sales behind Sony and Canon.


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