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Archive 2016 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading
  
 
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


Looking at the latest data from CIPA, the news couldn't be bleaker for digital camera sales, either fixed or interchangeable lens. The sales figures for 2015 are at 20 year lows and 2016 is seeing a collapse in sales to 30 year lows unless second half sales drastically improve. This surely cannot play out like this for too much longer without their being serious repercussions in the industry, meaning the survivability of some manufacturers and the ability to fund R&D going forward. If the PC shipment decline were this bad we declare it officially dead.

For detailed breakdown go to, this shows volume and value of shipments by region going back to around 1951 to 2015

http://www.cipa.jp/stats/report_e.html



Oct 17, 2016 at 01:51 AM
arbitrage
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


Looking at that I'd say interchangeable lens sales have been about the same since 2014 and 2013 just a bit better. They look to be on track to be close to last year and 2014. Built in lens cameras are the ones on severe decline.

Since I don't care about built-in lens cameras I'm not too worried at this point. Other than a boom in 2011-13 the ILCs are doing fine.



Oct 17, 2016 at 01:55 AM
stanj
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


At least the lens in the picture has a red ring

Pretty sad indeed. Makes you wonder which manufacturer will fall next.



Oct 17, 2016 at 01:57 AM
Liquidstone
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


Pixel Perfect wrote:
This surely cannot play out like this for too much longer without their being serious repercussions in the industry, meaning the survivability of some manufacturers and the ability to fund R&D going forward.



Once the 600 f4 DO is released, R&D may slow down and I'd not be bothered much. The current DSLRs are great enough for my shooting.



Oct 17, 2016 at 02:04 AM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


stanj wrote:
At least the lens in the picture has a red ring .


Yes I noticed that too. I thought Whayne pixeled that in perfectly



Oct 17, 2016 at 02:04 AM
NCAndy
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


We all have seen it. You're set up with tripod and camera when someone stops and gets out of their car and takes a cell phone photo right next to you. It happened at least 10x to me today alone. Jim Cramer on CNBC said the future to cameras is inter-connectivity. The immediacy of being able to upload to social media is paramount. Maybe if interchangeable lens cameras could access the web they could stop the slide in sales. But I doubt it. Most of the DSLRs I see never get out of auto mode and jpeg with kit lenses. Might as well use a cell phone for many of their needs. The iPhone 7+ is big because of the better camera. I'm thinking of getting one to replace the 6s for that reason.


Oct 17, 2016 at 02:08 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


A few comments — mostly that I've shared before:

1. Smart phones are seriously depressing the market for point and shoot cameras — the formerly huge blue columns. Smart phones do most of what the basic point and shoots did at this point, plus they add all kinds of powerful connectivity features. The trend here is no surprise. (The P&S market isn't dead though. I paid attention this summer during five weeks of travel and I was surprised at the number I still saw.)

2. One thing that is obvious from the curve represented in the graph (and from other similar data) is that there was a huge bump in sales of digital photography equipment during the first part of the century. Digital cameras at all levels created a huge new market for cameras. Many people bought their first digital camera during this period, and many of them then moved to better digital cameras or replaced their first one. Owners tended to upgrade on a relatively short time scale, partly because camera technology was changing and improving at a rapid rate.

This pattern is well known from other products. For example, desktop computers (and then laptops) took of like wildfire during the first years of their availability, but their sales have also slowed tremendously. Something similar has happened with flat panel TV monitors. We are even seeing it, though to a smaller extent, with smart phones.

Basically, it is impossible for the rate of sales seen during the initial explosion of a new product area to continue. There are fewer and fewer people buying their first such product. As the products improve many people wait longer before upgrading, recognizing that the changes between the prior models and the newest ones are not that great.

My belief is that the camera market will shake out in two primary ways:

1. Point and shoot cameras will likely never again achieve the level of sales that they had in the pre-smartphone era.

2. Sales of good to excellent DSLR and mirrorless cameras (such as those we are interested in in this forum) will continue, but more likely at rates similar to what we were seeing back in the film SLR era of the 90s. (Some will move from their smartphones to such cameras, in the way that some moved from P&S to SLR back in the day.)

I think we are already seeing this reflected in the market. Camera updates are certainly not coming at increasing rates and it seems like they may well be slowing down. In general, with some exceptions, the increment of improvement between models is smaller. (This isn't because the new models aren't good, but because the old models were already quite good.) We are seeing manufacturers focusing more on updating and improving lenses. Prices are getting higher.

Dan



Oct 17, 2016 at 02:12 AM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


arbitrage wrote:
Looking at that I'd say interchangeable lens sales have been about the same since 2014 and 2013 just a bit better. They look to be on track to be close to last year and 2014. Built in lens cameras are the ones on severe decline.

Since I don't care about built-in lens cameras I'm not too worried at this point. Other than a boom in 2011-13 the ILCs are doing fine.


2103 -> 2014 looks like at least 20% decline in ILC, and 2015 -> 2016 based on first 7 months looks like it could be another 30% or so. People worry about single digit declines, 2016 is looking catastrophic. 2016may have some excuse due to earthquake, but the trend is crystal clear, our beloved DSLR's are part of a rapidly dying breed.



Oct 17, 2016 at 02:13 AM
qc_mountain
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


In order to increase profit Canon and Nikon must stop R&D , lower their quality ,eliminate quality control , put less useful feature's , eliminate function button's ,take out Lcd's , no more warranty's and increase their price by 65%

Francois



Oct 17, 2016 at 02:29 AM
scalesusa
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


I'm looking for fire sales this December in order to decrease inventory and boost Canon's FY figures.
As of the end of August, 2016 ILCs produced are hovering around 78.5% of the 2015 production to the same point. Shipments are slightly higher, so some inventory is being cleared out for holiday sales.

Edited on Oct 17, 2016 at 02:56 AM · View previous versions



Oct 17, 2016 at 02:54 AM
 

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arbitrage
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


As Dan points out the cameras over the past 4 years have been so good that other than us gear whores on these boards, most people are probably very happy with their 2012 Rebels still.

Also as Romy points out, once Canon releases the 600DO then it really doesn't matter any more what happens to the camera industry



Oct 17, 2016 at 02:56 AM
Pixphatic
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading



Really dull and grim picture. Even though I've never ever bought and used any P&S cameras, yet I am concerned by the downward trend in those markets. They kept the turnover churning & therby earning revenues.IF those revenue were utilised in the R&D in general, then this trend is going to effect the ILC pricing like never before, if the R&D is to move forward.
Now thats going hurt me too.



Oct 17, 2016 at 03:05 AM
fsiagian
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


All cameras are overpriced. A small mirrorrless for $1500? 50mm 1.4 for $1500? Silly. They act like Bentley or rolex. They should act like Toyota or Casio. Smaller margin more volume. Volume will cover the R&D.


Oct 17, 2016 at 03:18 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


IDK ... the red boxes look pretty darn steady to me.

Sure, they climbed rapid in the early years and seem to have hit their peak around 2012, but the levels are still above 2009 levels (assuming 2016 finishes the year @ 1st half pace).

The P&S market OTOH ... very different story @ below 2004 levels (and still declining) for 4 years running.

IMO, the takeaway is that the camera phone is putting a dent in the P&S market ... with very little impact on the ILC market (just a normal climb / peak / pull-back / stabilize for the red boxes).



Oct 17, 2016 at 03:22 AM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


fsiagian wrote:
All cameras are overpriced. A small mirrorrless for $1500? 50mm 1.4 for $1500? Silly. They act like Bentley or rolex. They should act like Toyota or Casio. Smaller margin more volume. Volume will cover the R&D.


No no no. Sure they could improve sales a bit but fundamentally that's not the main issue, it's the smartphone capabilities are getting so good and even the cameras are improving so fast that more people than ever don't see the need for any other type of imaging device. And no matter how cheap you can make a DSLR and lens, it will still be large and cumbersome and won't have the connectivity and instant uploadability of the phone.

The R&D in the past for our precious DSLR's and big glass came from the sale of the P&S camera, this market no longer exists. Those used to amount to hundred million or so units a year, it's almost gone, phone sales are around 1 billion.

Canon's big mistake was ignoring the problem and not getting it's sensors into the phone segment. That also may have forced them to produce something similar to EXMOR themselves and given us better DSLR sensors much earlier.

Going forward Canon may be large enough that they can use revenues from other divisions to fund camera R&D, but what of say Nikon whose is much less diversified and smaller company.



Oct 17, 2016 at 03:29 AM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


RustyBug wrote:
IDK ... the red boxes look pretty darn steady to me.

Sure, they climbed rapid in the early years and seem to have hit their peak around 2012, but the levels are still above 2009 levels (assuming 2016 finishes the year @ 1st half pace).

The P&S market OTOH ... very different story @ below 2004 levels (and still declining) for 4 years running.

IMO, the takeaway is that the camera phone is putting a dent in the P&S market ... with very little impact on the ILC market (just a normal climb / peak / pull-back / stabilize for the red boxes).


Um I don't see that all from the data 2014-> 2015 was fairly steady, but like saying we had one year when Arctic sea ice coverage wasn't as bad as last year so global warming doesn't exist. The decline is less precipitous for sure, but the decline is still savage by any normal market standards.



Oct 17, 2016 at 03:30 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


Pixel Perfect wrote:
the decline is still savage by any normal market standards.


It is still consistently above 2009 levels, and the rate of decline is modest. Coming off the peak, sure it looks rough, but trend it starting at any point 2009 or earlier, and I think you find it to be within norms, rather than a "savage decline".

Referring to ILC data only, as all years still exceed 2009 (and 2010 also), the trend remains relatively flat / slightly upward whether you use linear, exponential, or log trending. Again, if you just focus at the fall from peak, it looks bleak, but I think it is just a normal pull-back in the life cycle of the product (i.e. digital ICL) following the ramp up.

Even if we do focus JUST since the peak, the decline is flattening, and 2016 is on pace to further confirm the "flattening".











Edited on Oct 17, 2016 at 03:59 AM · View previous versions



Oct 17, 2016 at 03:39 AM
Nowhere Man
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


I would expect the decline of sales to continue. How much more camera do 95% of the population need? Already we have phones that last longer, take amazing pictures at more than 12mp, have much improved battery life, some with dual lenses now, and it works great to satisfy the instagram, twitter, and fb social media needs.

The next big thing in the tech world is VR and I wonder how long it will take for SLR manufacturers to figure out how to tap into the VR money stream that's about to go wild in the next 5-10 years.



Oct 17, 2016 at 03:52 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


Seriously, it is mostly (though not quite entirely) just the other side of the absurd and unsustainable burst of camera sales between about 2005 and 2012+.

What goes up must come down.

Edited on Oct 17, 2016 at 12:39 PM · View previous versions



Oct 17, 2016 at 03:56 AM
15Bit
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Wow, camera sales figures make grim reading


I agree with Dan - this is just the market returning to it's steady state following a systemic disturbance caused by the introduction of digital imaging. I also expect sales to flatten off with SLR sales at a similar level to the pre-digital days, but with P&S's going the way of the dinosaur rather than taking a market position similar to that of the film compact cameras. In 5 years i expect only DSLR's, mirrorless systems and high end enthusiast P&S's to exist. Mobile phones will take the rest of the market.

What this will do to R&D budgets for DSLR's i don't know, but in many ways digital technology has plateaued, so unless a new disruptive technology turns up there probably isn't so much more improvement to realise. And as such a new tech would spike sales again, it would fund it's own development....



Oct 17, 2016 at 06:43 AM
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