Japanese camera and film manufacturer Fujifilm may be capturing the spirit of yesterday and reaping windfall profits in the process.
Fujifilm’s recent rise in revenues apparently falls on the back of its instant film division and not because of its digital cameras, according to reports.
In a further blow to the digital camera market, Fujifilm’s recent financial windfall came from the Instax line of instant film cameras. Further signaling the continuance of a trend reported by other camera manufacturers, the digital camera market is being outpaced and displaced by the ubiquitous and profitable smartphone camera segment.
Mirroring the Polaroid cameras of the past, the Instax film line is perfect for people who prefer the days of analog as well as those consumers looking for something a little different than a social media snap.
And apparently the market for this thing is quite large, Fujifilm’s Instax line is even outpacing expectations at the company, prompting some analysts to speculate whether or not Instax is part of a fad.
As we reported in late 2017, some optics manufacturers are choosing to scale back digital camera production due to the intense competition from smartphone cameras. Nikon’s closure of a digital camera production plant in Shenzhen is one of many instances where the market for the once popular segment has retracted due to pressures from other camera segments.
Further, we reported in November 2017 that industry-wide shipments of digital cameras had declined year over year, continuing a trend established several years ago.
The number of cameras shipped compared on an annual basis declined 17%, a steep drop as a percentage of an already shrinking total.
The numbers from November 2017 compared with 2016 are important for industry analysts because of the important winter shopping season in many markets. Numbers during this period are particularly scrutinized for any sign of market weakness. One telling indication of the weakness in the digital camera market is that many makers are pulling out of the low-end digital camera market altogether, seceding that space to smartphones.