There are now more than four billion people taking pictures, according to figures released to AP by market analysts Futuresource Consulting.

The number of images captured annually has jumped six-fold to 1.2 trillion, with smartphones playing an instrumental role, according to the poll of 4,251 people across the USA, UK, France, Germany, Canada and Australia.

Seventy-nine percent of smartphone users said they regularly take photos using their smartphone.

However, there may be good news for camera makers on the horizon despite the unrelenting demand for smartphones.

While smartphones represent the ‘primary capture device’ for many, users may be subsequently tempted to ‘step-up’ to a dedicated digital camera, asserts Futuresource.

Futuresource market analyst Arun Gill said: ‘It is clear that digital cameras maintain key technical advantages over multi-functional capture devices, in terms of bigger and superior sensors and optics.

‘However, smartphones are setting the bar in terms of smart UI [User Interface]’s, connectivity and mobile apps, which represents a growing usability delta between smartphones and digital cameras.’

The research also highlights how the adoption of technology such as wireless image transfer, software-based filters, face detection and large touchscreens have changed photography behaviour ‘beyond recognition’.

The data is contained in a Futuresource report entitled Living with Digital.