Big ticket items such as cameras are usually bundled with freebies at Gitex to boost sales. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: The growing usage of smartphones is hurting sales of digital cameras, retailers at Gitex Shopper Spring 2016 say.

The improving quality of smartphone cameras has led many consumers to choose not to buy a compact camera.

Retailers reported flat or lower sales of digital cameras so far this year.

Sales of compact cameras, or point-and-shoot cameras, at Jumbo Electronics fell by around 25 per cent in the first two months of this year compared to the same period a year ago, said its general manager and head of omnichannel retail, Nadeem Khanzadah.

“[Sales] were down by a similar number last year. The point-and-shoot camera is almost dead now. Camera sales [globally and in the UAE] have been declining for quite some time mainly because of the improvement in the quality of the cameras in smartphones,” he said.

Meanwhile, Plug-ins’ digital camera sales were flat in the first two months of this year over the same period in 2015, said its general manager, Omar Abu Shaban, adding that he expects the trend to continue for the rest of the year.

Last year, total shipments of digital cameras fell 18.5 per cent year on year to 35.40 million units, according to a recent report from Japan’s Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA).

However, Mahesh Chotrani, assistant vice-president of consumer electronics retailer Jacky’s, said that there is still demand for digital cameras.

“There are still photo enthusiasts that believe that they should look at digital cameras than go for a smartphone that will never give you that quality that a digital still camera can give you,” he said.

The retailer’s sales of digital cameras for the full year are expected to increase by around 10 per cent compared to 2015, he said.

While demand for compact cameras is down, sales of SLRs and action cameras are holding up well, according to Khanzadah.

“When you go on a holiday or want something for special moments, then you buy an SLR. So whatever sales are coming in cameras, they’re coming in the SLR segment,” he said.

“As of late, the new segment that is emerging is action photography, so cameras like GoPro and Sony Action Cam are doing very well because of their size, compactness and features,” he added.

Jumbo Electronics has significantly reduced its point-and-shoot camera range and expanded its SLR and adventure camera range in its stores, according to Khanzadah.