Consumers expect connectivity in future electronic devices, and camera manufacturers ‘can no longer continue solely down the path of standalone digital cameras’, claims the InfoTrends North America Consumer Digital Camera Forecast 2011-2017.

The report’s authors warn of danger ahead if camera firms do not embrace a connected world in which consumers are able to transfer images to other devices such as tablets, phones and TVs.

The connected experience is the ‘future of imaging’, claims the study.

‘If digital cameras do not integrate with this ecosystem, they run the risk of being left out of the equation.

‘Digital camera vendors must satisfy this expectation or risk losing a customer.

‘Vendors need to increase the velocity of these introductions and make 2012 the year of the connected camera….’

Smartphones are the biggest threat to the camera market, as more people turn to them for image capture, stress the report’s authors.

‘As a result, some consumers may decide not to replace their digital camera, while others might forgo buying one altogether.

‘Digital cameras, however, still offer a higher quality photo-taking experience.

‘Digital camera manufacturers must keep the benefits of their products at the forefront of their minds, so that still cameras will continue to be preferred over smartphones for everyday and planned picture-taking events.’

Commenting on the report, Ed Lee, group director of InfoTrends’ Worldwide Consumer and Professional Imaging Service said: ‘All vendors should have at least one Wi-Fi-enabled point and shoot or digital interchangeable lens camera in their line-up, a move towards offering Wi-Fi as a standard feature.’

Lee also called on manufacturers to ensure camera interfaces are ‘simple and intuitive’.

The study was published earlier this month.