Sales of compact digital cameras took a hammering in Ireland in the last four months of 2013, falling by almost 50% compared to the same period in 2012. 

According to figures from electronic research firm Gfk, it is a similar story in value terms for cameras with changeable lenses, although they have performed better than the fixed lens segment of the market. 

The continued drop is likely to be attributable to continued growth of smartphones, which feature digital cameras. 

However, according to Gfk, sales of cheaper ranges of cameras with changeable lenses continue to grow, suggesting consumers are still willing to invest in features that are better than their existing devices. 

Gfk also found that sales in the IT retail market here declined in the final quarter of 2013, compared to the last four months of 2012. 

It attributes the fall to the evolution of tablet computers, which stole market share from laptop and desktop computers. 

Sales of tablets grew by 22% over the Christmas period, compared to the same festive period in 2012. However, the value of those sales has been hit by the erosion of prices and a trend towards smaller screen sizes, Gfk said. 

The smartphone market here rose marginally last December compared to the same month in 2012. The increase was primarily driven by the pre-pay sector, with accounted for almost 75% of handsets sold in December. 

The research also found that the price of smartphones is coming down, due to promotions within the pre-pay market. Touch screen handsets continue to be the favourite, accounting for 100% of smartphone sales