The global camcorder market has returned to growth after almost a year of dwindling sales, according to research from Futuresource Consulting.

Volume growth during the second quarter of the year was up 14% on the previous quarter; the uplift follows three consecutive quarters of decline.

Futuresource said the camcorder market had struggled to replicate the success of 2011 when sales were at an an all-time high.  

“The pro camcorder market is becoming increasingly commoditised as lower-end products are capable of much more than they have been historically, both in terms of image quality and functionality,” said Futuresource Consulting head of broadcast equipment Adam Cox.

“This is great news for end users who can get more value for money, but less so for vendors as average selling prices (ASP) are dropping significantly.”

Cox said that between 2010 and the first half of 2013, the global ASP had fallen by over 20% - more than $1,000.

“However, if volume growth keeps up with the decline in price then the industry stays in a reasonable shape.

“Unfortunately, on a global level this is not the case.

“When looking at H1 2012 and the corresponding period in 2013, global volume dropped by 3% while market value dropped by 13%, the discrepancy directly caused by price erosion.”

Importance of APAC

In Western Europe the number of camcorders sold increased by 3% between 2010 and 2012.

During the same period, sales in the US declined by 9%.

This is partly due to prevailing economic conditions, but also due to market saturation and competition from DSLRs, Futuresource said.

In contrast, decreasing ASPs have struck a chord with emerging, price-sensitive markets such as China and India, which has resulted in significant growth in APAC.

The research firm found that China is “comfortably” the world’s largest market for pro camcorders and has experienced 19% volume growth between 2010 and 2012.

India is now the third largest market, experiencing 189% volume growth over the same period.

APAC accounted for over half the pro camcorder volumes in H1 2013.

“In the short to mid-term the gauntlet has been thrown down to the pro camcorder vendors: give people a reason to buy cameras, and thus keep volume growth going, or face the consequences.

“Innovation is becoming increasingly important, especially as the threat from non-traditional products such as DSLRs continues to gain traction,” said Cox.

“Luckily, the pace of change in the professional video market is rapid.

“While 3D may not have lived up to the hype, 4K, wireless connectivity, HDR and HEVC are just some of the many technological advances that are permeating through the industry, giving pro camcorder vendors ample opportunity to develop significant improvements to camcorder performance and functionality.”