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Camera sales might not look so bleak in 5 years, study suggests

While the Camera and Imaging Product Association statistics have 2016 looking like the worst year for camera sales in over 15 years, one research group is anticipating growth in the industry. The biggest factor? Social media.

A report from Zion Market Research estimates that the camera industry will grow by about six percent by 2021. The research group included cameras, imaging software and processing equipment in its numbers and expects the overall industry to hit about $110.79 billion in about five years.

More: Tales of the camera market’s decline have apparently not been exaggerated

The group attributes much of the expected growth to markets in the Asia Pacific region, where income growth paired with an increased interest in photography will help drive the market forward. North America will have the second biggest impact, the research firm suggests, but the market in both North America and Europe will largely grow as consumers replace dated fixed lens cameras with updated interchangeable lens options.

But one of the biggest driving factors is the growth of social media. With the growth of platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, the demand for digital photography is increasing, the report suggests. Along with social media, access to image editing software is also contributing to the growth.

Along with the fact that digital cameras are making it possible for “consumers to take professional quality photos themselves,” Zion Market Research suggests that the widening range of applications for digital cameras is also playing a role. Cameras used in business, science, security, recreation, data storage, automotive and machine vision, as well as art and professional photography will contribute to the market growth, the report says.

While the study acknowledges the improving quality of smartphone cameras as a major competitor, niche markets like sports and events will help fuel the camera industry’s growth, the report says.

Whether or not the industry follows the trends Zion predicts, several studies suggest that social media has indeed helped make photography more popular than ever before — the question is more whether that enhanced interest will drive more consumers to use an advanced camera, instead of the one already in their pockets.