Camera Industry Sentiment Largely Pessimistic About 2021 Sales

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One of the recurrent stories we feature on this news blog is that camera sales, pretty much across the board, are in decline around the world.

canon eos r mirrorless digital
Photo by EOS R5 from Canon.

And this trend doesn’t seem to have reversed at all. In fact, it has accelerated in many ways. While we could rely upon the old supports of “it’s the growth of smartphones” and the need for digital devices attuned to creating content for social media, that doesn’t really do justice to the now widespread collapse we are seeing in some segments. Somewhat accelerated by 2020 and the global pandemic, the sales in 2020 don’t bode well for the future and outlooks for 2021 are dim at best.

So is all of that justified? According to CIPA, it is.

Two interesting figures often cited as proof of this decline is the 2010 peak shipment number of 120 million units and the even more striking number, peak shipment value of 2,164B ¥ (now 420B ¥) achieved as far back as 2008.

One area that has largely remained the same through the years, and has proven a source of stability and growth, as a result, is the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Further, FStoppers notes that the volume-driven, profit-generating sale of compact cameras is the one that has largely collapsed, leaving a gap in revenue that the others aren’t quite able to fill. Because of this collapse in the low-end of the market, expensive, highly technical devices are left to shoulder much of the burden of churning out a profit for companies and, given the decidedly smaller nature of such a market, it is not hard to see how some of them are under some pretty intense pressure as a result.

Two landmarks for MILCs, specifically were achieved over the past two years as the segment surpassed DSLRs in value of total units shipped and actually outpaced DSLRs last year in total numbers shipped. This perhaps explains all of the new MILCs in development currently. What all of this draws attention to is that, ultimately, all of the manufacturers like Sony, Canon, and Nikon will have to spend more money on R&D to push higher-margin products to more specialist consumers niches rather than the one-size-fits-all approach of the past with regard to this cohort.

What do you expect for the camera industry moving forward? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below if you like.

We have a bunch of other photography news for you to check out on Light Stalking at this link right here.

[FStoppers]

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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