Disposable Film Cameras Survive in a Digital World
As we've noted before (here and here), the photographic film industry appears to be in its death throes, the buggy whip of the 21st century. The growing prevalence of digital and phone cameras has driven down sales of traditional film to the point where film manufactures have either gone out of business or (in the case of the venerable Agfa brand) gone bankrupt. Yet one bright spot remains for film: Disposable cameras, which still enjoy healthy sales.
Disposable cameras offer that twin appeal of low cost and simplicity, appealing to the forgetful, impulsive, cheap and technophobic. They're also ideal for rugged situations where one might be wary of taking an expensive digital camera. Last year, 202 million digital cameras were sold in the US -- a strong and steady sales figure, considering that the film market as a whole is shrinking by 20% per year. Even in tech-happy Japan, disposable film cameras remain popular.
Even this niche, however, will soon be threatened by improved camera phones, as well as disposable digital and video cameras.