Beyond smartphones and digital cameras – The Long Tail of Cameras study

Why this study?

We know all this: Thanks to the smartphone – the camera that’s always in our pockets and keeps getting better – people take more photos than ever before. But does this mean there is no longer space for other cameras?

Unit sales of digital cameras keep declining, especially of compact cameras. But what about their usage? Are they collecting dust or are they still actively, but selectively, used?

And how about all these other camera types with specialized functionality? Do people buy them? How much are they being used? And what makes people buy them, use them, or consider buying them?

Which camera types?

Our survey includes questions about ownership, usage, and inclination to buy with respect to the following 10 camera types –
8 long tail cameras + smartphones + digital cameras:

  • Smartphones (e.g. iPhone 8 or Samsung Galaxy S8)

  • Digital cameras (e.g. Nikon D7500 or Sony Cyber-shot)

  • 360 cameras (e.g. Ricoh Theta or Samsung Gear 360)

  • 180 stereoscopic cameras (e.g. LucidCam or YI Horizon VR180)

  • Drone cameras (e.g. DJI Mavic Air or Parrot Bebop)

  • Action cams (e.g. GoPro Hero or Olympus TG-Tracker)

  • No-viewfinder cameras (e.g. Google Clips or iON wearable camera)

  • Instant print cameras (printing-capable cameras, e.g. HP Sprocket 2-in-1 or Fujifilm instax mini 8)

  • Pet cameras (e.g. PetCube Play or Furbo Dog Camera)

  • Camera glasses (camera-equipped glasses, e.g. Google Glass or Snapchat Spectacles)

How many respondents?

We conducted our online survey among 1055 North American respondents who take at least 5 photos a month, and weighted the answers for gender and age. Where possible we analyzed the answers for differences between gender, age, and parenthood.

The main findings? Take the quiz!

Learn the main findings and experience what you might or might not already know by taking our fun, but informative, 6-question The Long Tail of Cameras Quiz!


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Learn the main findings by taking our fun, but informative, 6-question The Long Tail of Cameras Quiz!


The Beyond smartphones and digital cameras – The Long Tail of Cameras study is a 20-page slide presentation, containing the following sections:

  • Intro & Methodology

  • Camera ownership

  • Features considered when purchasing 

  • Usage frequency

  • Features that could trigger more use

  • Likelihood to buy

  • In sum

  • About us


Publication date:
Updated April 2018