Worst Year Ever – 2018 the Bottom of the Barrel for Digital Camera Sales


Sales are a kind of barometer of success as well as relevance – and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the optics market.

Laboring under sustained market pressure from ever-more-capable smartphones, digital camera sales have struggled to regain their heights and are becoming increasingly irrelevant in the broader scheme of things.

And today some even worse news was released with regard to digital camera manufacture and sales in 2018. The latest CIPA 2018 numbers show what people have worried about all year: 2018 was the worst year ever recorded for the digital camera market.

Citing data from CIPA, Mirrorless Rumors highlights that Japanese manufacturers shipped 20% fewer units in 2018 as compared with the same time in 2017. That’s a huge drop and one that has a lot of people asking questions about the future.

For its part, DSLR cameras dropped 13% in total unit sales while the value of the DSLR market as a whole took a 17% hit.

One bright spot (which should come as a surprise to no one) is that mirrorless cameras posted slight increases in sales but a whopping 23% increase in market value according to Mirrorless Rumors.

What these numbers bear out is the trend that a lot of analysts began identifying last year; namely, that digital camera sales and the overall camera market will continue to shrink while mirrorless cameras will post modest gains. For their part, a lot of manufacturers are addressing this issue head-on with model line cuts and even factory closings.

Canon expects the market to continue this trend for another two years until stability will re-enters the picture.

Meanwhile, smartphone sales are not expected to decline anytime soon and, if the race to add as many cameras as possible to front and rear fascias is any indication, they will probably continue to take up a lot of the market once occupied by digital cameras.

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About Author

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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