Scanner sales pre 2000 was a drop in the bucket compared to post 2001 digital camera sales. Canon quit counting actual camera sales and reverted to "tons shipped". They (Canon) knew the weight of a "box of camera" and stated sales in tons instead of the number of units sold.
Really...to get a page sized scan prior to 2001 was not a simple process. It was really after flatbed scanners could do reasonable scans of medium and small format film that "photographers" started getting scanners and scanning film to make prints.
But that is a relatively recent advancement. Prior to say, 1999 or 2000, "film scanners" that could do good film scans were still expensive.
When the cost of digital cameras started competing directly with film scanners is when "photographers" started looking for "photographic" type prints from digital cameras. That really didn't happen until after the cost of digital cameras started falling. That's when the convergence started happening...
Right... I agree. But it doesn't negate my point- clearly the explosion happened in the early 2000 timeframe and by then scanners and film were falling away, and the printers were booming... but before that people were using scanners before cameras for acquiring images to print. That certainly helped things start coming together... speaking to your earlier point, actually.
I'm trying to remember when I got my first Nikon LS2000, I just found it boxed up in the cellar. It had to be around '96... (edit- looks like it was released in late '97) and I used it for scanning and printing my portfolio, as well as some prints I was selling (as "fine art"). Before then I'd been using a service that had a Leaf 4x5 scanner. - AND making prints on my Epson...
I can remember talking to the lab at that time about how spendy the Leaf was... and how slow it was as well. That's when I started to understand there was what the industry called "good" as you do above, and "good enough" which was what I needed for my book and website... wish I could remember how much the Nikon cost me.
What with essentially the demise of any film scanners other than the (Imacon) Hasselblads, (the Creo iQsmart was just discontinued last year...) that would be a pretty interesting subject to look into time-line-wise as well...
By the way... for a really interesting read on how various technological developments converge, take a look at "Bicycle: The History"
Whether you're particularly interested in bikes or not, it's a great analogy for any type of developing technology. It was not until several almost completely unrelated parts came together, particularly the roller chain, tube steel, pneumatic tires as well as public interest (bicycles in one form or another had several waves of intense popularity throughout the 1800s, only to die out as the novelty wore off...) it wasn't until all these "enabling" technologies came together in a two-wheel, chain-drive lightweight and affordable machine that they had the staying power to become a viable product.
...don't even get me going on batteries