The arrival, over the last few years, of affordable 360-degree cameras like the Insta360 X3 and GoPro Max is – according to analysts firm "The Brainy Insights" – the beginning of a tidal wave. They say the market grew to US$1.84 billion in 2022, and now anticipate growth to $15.73 billion by 2032.
That is a Compound Anual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 27.53% which is a very exciting number for investors. By contrast, the more mature digital photography market as a whole is expected to cruise upward at around 4.4% (according to figures from a different firm, Zion Market Research).
The full details of The Brainy Insights report are available at a fee from the analysts, but Yahoo! Finance reports that, within 360-degree, the highest growth, of 27.85%, is expected at ultra-high definition (UHD) quality. This chimes with the kind of 4K quality content creators are looking for and that we're already seeing in the action camera space. Devices like the Insta 360 X3 seem well-placed to take advantage of this growth.
It's also worth noting that both YouTube and Facebook, among others, already support 360-degree camera footage, so some key obstacles have been overcome in terms of distribution, which is also a great footing for growth. The noise around the different but easily conflated tech in Apple's Vision Pro headset can also only boost the need for 360-degree content creation.
Action cameras are not the only area we've seen 360-degree cameras though – clever meeting room devices like the Kandao Meeting Ultra also rely on 360-degree camera tech, and there are also uses to be found in real estate, military, and even healthcare.
I, for one, am quite excited that more people will get the opportunity to experience, as I have, the creative possibilities of shooting using a different kind of camera. If you want to know more, check out my experience using a 360-degree camera on a family holiday. If the thought of being on the crest of the wave has inspired you, check out our guide to the best 360-degree cameras.