Japan's digital camera industry, which has been hit hard by the explosive growth of the camera-equipped smartphone market, may have finally found a ray of hope — thanks to Instagram users showing off their private lives online.

According to statistics released Thursday by the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA), domestic digital camera shipments finally stopped shrinking in 2017, posting a slight increase for the first time in seven years.

The number of units shipped domestically was an estimated 3.52 million in 2017, about 1,000 more than the previous year. In terms of value, the shipments totaled ¥102.34 billion, up 8.3 percent, the first increase in four years, according to the CIPA.