Canon may get more DSLR sales from emerging markets, but it won't be enough to overcome the decline in their present markets. Non-phone camera sales will continue to decline. And camera phones will continue to get better.
but I think as has been said that they're different markets. The P&S users, which did bring a lot of revenue to the camera makers have now gone to smartphones. I'm sure most people on this forum use theirs similarly, and only when they want to do more, will they turn to more capable devices.
And to follow up on a point made earlier, I still have a iphone 4 and changed from the ipad 2 to the mini retina because the size is more convenient. There's nothing compelling to make me change until either of them breaks.
Tom Hogan (bythom.com) believes that much of the problem is the lack of understanding around the workflow. I think this is some of the story, but only part. I concur that for many people, the quality of their phones exceeds their criteria. It captures the moment, does it well, and is always with them.
I can understand that the Canon are focusing on what the enthusiasts and above want, and targeting specific sectors with specific bodies, although they need to be careful as forcing people to have too multiple bodies may backfire. On the one hand, I think a modular system would be good, allowing you to make incremental upgrades for less cash, but on the other I think what would be the cost of the "body" and what part of it would stay static enough ie does modular not work as you have to replace almost everything except for the lcd, batteries and the lens mount?
The differentiators which attracts me to a mirrorless or dslr will i think separate the smartphone users from the camera users, and I dont think there is huge opportunity to change that - maybe I'm not being innovative enough, but I cant see anything which compels the average user to want to carry a second device, just to capture a snap of a moment.
I think Canon should focus on those that want to do more with photography - I think the step change from a smartphone to a mirrorless or dslr is too great, both cost & complexity and if they want to capture these users, they have to focus their efforts better
- Ease of use - there is an order of magnitude difference. The smartphone user doesnt want to understand AV/TV/Camera shake, aperture. To attract them we need to change the terminology and way of selecting it. What they want is a system that guides them, and allows them to take better pictures. Auto ISO should be beefed up based on the lens, the light, and what they're shooting for instance. They should be shown styles of photos and the camera sets it based on this (and Im thinking better than the simple picture modes). We love learning that stuff, I'm not sure they do. Make it easier so they can take some better shots and I think it would help.
- workflow as Tom says, is indeed part of that. Break them gradually into getting their pictures into a format which they can share. Dont force them to have to buy lightroom to get the best. But I dont think the workflow needs to be for the Pros ie with sophisticated "batch features". Time saving is important, but I dont think the workflow will be complex, it just needs to work reliably and simply.
- lighter. If they're gonna use it, with either a built in lens or an add-on lens, then it's gotta be not much larger / cumbersome than the 5" smartphones. Given what a smartphone can do in the size it is, how much would it be to come out with a device of a similar dimension (perhaps not such a big screen), but with features like a zoom lens, image stabilisation, a better flash and better controls?
Bottom line, I dont think it has to be an order of magnitude better than a smartphone, i think if it could do the more (ie it is tailored for photography, with a decent AF), can integrate with their phone for workflow then they might stand a chance. Smartphone manufacturers will add these features in future, camera makers I think could beat them to the punch.
In parallel, they need to focus on what would indeed make photographers happier. It would be interesting to know what would make people upgrade their bodies, change their lenses. And if there's not enough in that, then maybe Canon needs an SW ecosystem which offers another revenue stream, so you can do more with your current body until you're prepared to upgrade or it dies. Again, I think they need to be careful that for the users with only "1.6 lenses", as they're more likely to swap brands when it comes around to replacing their body than those more invested in lenses. Maybe that ecosystem could be the stickiness, and it doesnt just have to be Canon doing it, other ISVs would help.
Finally, I think they need to listen to both Pro's and Consumers. I think having something in the camera which helps monitor what you're doing and how you're doing it would help provide feedback. I think more surveys and more dialogue on what they find would be useful, but only if they did something with the information. Of course there's a risk that people would not be balanced with their feedback and then get disillusioned even if they were completely unreasonable.
I think they do need to show more what cameras can do, and how it can be as easy in the camera as it is with the software on their smartphone. But don't compete in the facebook pic space, smartphones have won that. Compete where they cant and get that message out there. Show the comparisons, show what smartphones cant do. I think reducing ignorance and having something to offer akin to a "smartphone" size device but with more features might slow down the rot. Especially if costs less than the smartphones do
Just my 2c