Sales of digital cameras that enable users to immediately post pictures on the web have risen sharply in Asia despite stiff competition from smartphones, an industry survey showed Thursday.
Market research company GfK said sales of WiFi-enabled cameras in 13 major Asian markets including Japan and China rose 52 percent from the year before to 8.44 million units in 2012 with a total value of $2.74 billion.
While WiFi-enabled digital stills cameras have been around since 2005, GfK said sales have only picked up in the past two years as manufacturers widened the range of models available and prices fell due to competition.
There are currently 160 models of WiFi-ready cameras in the market, it said.
"The introduction of the WiFi feature in cameras is definitely a right step forward to stimulate and boost the camera market in this Internet age," Gerard Tan, account director for digital technology at GfK Asia, said in a statement.
Another emerging battleground is the market for WiFi-enabled "mirrorless" cameras, which can be made nearly as small as compact cameras but with picture quality that rivals that of their bulkier DSLR counterparts, the report said.
The GfK survey showed an eight-fold increase in the sale of WiFi-enabled mirrorless cameras last year compared to 2011, with a total of 765,600 units sold in the 13 countries surveyed.
Explore further: Pebble turns to crowdfunding (again) for latest smartwatch