In the past, Asia’s digital camera market has been driven by sales of cheap, compact cameras but newer, interchangeable lens cameras are starting to spark consumer interest in the region.

Digital compact cameras with interchangeable lenses, also known as mirrorless cameras, are a new breed of compact cameras that offer similar features to DSLRs while maintaining a compact size.

“The gradual hike in market share of these cameras over the last twelve months indicates the increasing acceptance level across the countries—a clear sign also that consumers are willing to pay a higher price for this recently launched compact system cameras,” said Jasmine Lim, regional account director for GfK Asia in a report on the Asian digital camera market released on April 5.

Despite newfound interest in the mirrorless camera category over the past 12 months, the compact camera market still rules in Asia.

In 2010, four out of every five cameras sold in the region was a compact camera.

“[H]alf of the total volume sold for compact cameras with fixed lens retailed at USD200 or less, making it the most affordable type of digital camera in the market,” said GfK.

In 2010 almost 3 billion dollars worth of cameras were sold in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Philippines, a large increase from 2009 figures when digital camera sales in the area were sluggish.  

Hong Kong and Korea maintained their position as the top two markets in the Asian region with combined digital camera sales of 1.35 billion but demand for new cameras was even stronger in Asia’s developing markets.

In the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam consumers demonstrated a newfound passion for photo taking, snapping up, respecitively, 39, 28, and 24 percent more units of digital cameras here compared to 2009 said GfK.

"The digital camera industry has indeed been revived in 2010 and this was especially apparent in markets such as Thailand and Korea, where 2009 value sales dipped substantially by 25 and 15 percent from the previous year,” commented Lim.