UK consumers snapped up 14.5% fewer compact cameras in May than in the same month the year before, according to official figures seen by Amateur Photographer. However, DSLR sales continue to ride out the effects of the economic downturn.

Statistics show that 433,900 compact cameras were sold in May 2009 – that’s 73,400 fewer than in May 2008.

This led to a 11% drop in compact camera sales revenue, according to the figures compiled by GfK Retail & Technology.

GfK attributed the fall in demand for compact cameras to higher prices, compared to a year ago, and the effects of the recession.

GfK’s Photo/Imaging account manager Cedric Mertes blamed higher unemployment and cuts in household budgets, adding that the compact market has now ‘reached maturity’.

He said that 75% of UK households own a compact camera and people are reluctant to upgrade to newer models during a downturn.

However, sales of digital SLRs held up, sliding around 2% in volume in May, to 42,800 units. In value terms DSLR sales dipped just 1.5%, compared to 12 months earlier.