Between 2001 and 2003, sales of digital still cameras (DSC) have rocketed from a around 15 million to a total of 61 million units across Europe, says Sony.
Likewise MP3 player usage has soared - at the expense of CD players - rising from a 33% household penetration in May 2003 to a 74% penetration in June 2005 [Sony internal estimates and GFK portable network audio EU 2005].
Premium battery suppliers see the popularity of high-drain digital cameras as very good news.
Energizer, for one, has predicted that the super-premium sector has the potential to reach £15m in the next two to three years.
Over the past few years, product
miniaturisation has been a key driver in appliance development, and as a result, around 65% of MP3 players now take AAA-sized batteries, according to research by Sony.
But questions are now being asked as to whether portable appliances are set to follow the pattern of the mobile phone
revolution, which, says Energizer’s Paul Ardron, is now eschewing miniaturisation in favour of devices that are bigger and with a wider range of features.
Sony is tapping the strong links between appliance and battery development. This year it launched the LIP880 40-hour rechargeable battery to fit its new Walkman.
As product manager Corinna Bergner says: “There are big advantages to be had if you can offer consumers a complete solution in terms of hardware and batteries. Consumers do not feel tied in. They trust the Sony name and see it as an advantage.”
Duracell also believes that its CP1, the slimline primary prismatic battery developed specifically for new Nikon and Samsung appliances, has similarly been adopted by a number of leading device manufacturers.
Likewise, Energizer’s Utimate Lithium batteries can be used with Nikon’s Coolpix camera, which can switch between lithium and standard batteries.