By Jean-François Pieri
The global action camera market was valued at US$2,3bn (eds: €2bn) in 2020, according to new insights from Brandessence Market Research. By the end of 2027, the figure is forecast to reach US$4.1bn (eds: 3.62bn), rising at 8.63% CAGR.
Despite the unstoppable rise of the camera phone, Brandessence reports that a growing enthusiasm for more playful (and often wetter) types of photography are seeing people turn to cameras tailored for capturing immersive action shots. Wildlife photography, nature documentaries, family memoirs, underwater photography, and social media selfies all continue to be key drivers behind what the market researchers describe as a “craze for action cameras”.
The authors explain that for some time, the high price points of such cameras have limited their reach to consumer markets. Despite areas of major success, companies have struggled around pricing and global brand visibility. However, the growing availability of low-cost yet advanced devices remains a major driver for the global action camera market.
An action camera, also known as action cam, is a digital camera with the ability to capture adventure, in action. Vloggers often install such cameras on their hats, or bikes, to film a biking or a mountaineering adventure. That’s why action cams are often built to be durable, compact, and waterproof. Many include features like slow motion video recording at 120 or 240fps, high-definition video, CMOS image sensors, and burst mode for capturing live action.
Companies like GoPro have naturally tapped into the extreme sports market, with action cameras suiting the solo thrill-seeking activities of base jumping, surfing, and wing-suit flying. In 2014, the year GoPro made its mark, camera sales increased by 44% globally. New features like 4k and 5.8k resolution made their way into the extreme sport world. And following GoPro’s entry, a growing number of players have emerged on to the landscape with relatively low barriers to entry.
Sony, Panasonic, Ricoh, TomTom, Toshiba, Xiaomi, and Garmin have all entered the market, “diversifying product offerings, and taking action camera market growth to unprecedented heights”. The report cites the arrival of the Sionyx’s HD action video camera in 2018, with “true” day, and night day imaging as a notable development in industry. Small enough to fit in one hand, the company said the camera was equipped with its patented technology for the highest night vision optics. However, Sionyx put it on the market for $799, thousands of dollars cheaper than similar models.
Another key moment for the researchers is when the US National Football League and Major League Baseball deployed the Sony HDC-F5500 action camera for capturing live footage in November 2021. Brandessence hails this as a promising sign for the commercial growth of the action camera market, as their use in sports coverage “is likely to make way for higher sales of accessories, which remain key to improving margins.”
Despite the popularity of companies like GoPro, manufacturers continue to look for new ways like user-generated content to make way for new growth, the report states, which remains “a potential restraint to growth”. The researchers add that companies will need to make continuous advancements to keep consumer interest and growth in action camera market.
However, a growing interest in photography, 360-degree camera tech, and advancements in Virtual Reality all promise major growth. That is alongside new attention from tech giants like Facebook and Google to the industry, as well as the promising potential for action cameras in the surveillance and security industries.
Brandessence says together with the growing demand for high-quality social media photos and an increased desire for documenting travel after the COVID-19 pandemic, the action camera market will likely witness robust growth through to 2027.
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