Canon has released their final financial results for 2018. Sales were down year over year, but Canon managed to increase profits while dealing with declining sales in 2018.

Canon's thoughts on the imaging industry in 2018:

The 2018 interchangeable-lens camera market was impacted by restrained purchasing of advanced amateur models, prior to the launch of new full-frame mirrorless cameras by each manufacturer, and the further contraction of the DSLR market, mainly due to lower sales of entry-class models. As a result, the overall interchangeable-lens camera market continued to shrink. Even under these conditions, sales of mirrorless cameras—with their lightweight, compact body designs—continued to grow. This reflects improvements in mirrorless camera performance in such areas as autofocus, which is now comparable to that of DSLRs.

Against this backdrop, we are framing this year as one in which we take measure that will stabilize this business in the future. Within this, accelerating the expansion of our mirrorless lineup is a priority.

The key to this is the EOS R, our first full-frame mirrorless model, launched in the second half of last year. Although its contribution to last year’s performance was limited, sales have been strong due to its significantly improved optical performance, which has been highly rated by users. In order to further increase our presence in the mirrorless camera market, this year we will continue to expand our entire mirrorless camera lineup, consecutively launching new R-System products, including lenses.

Additionally, we will also promote change in the distribution of internal resources, from development to production as well as sales & marketing. Additionally, we will work to improve product mix, raising the proportion attributable to full-frame models that have high profitability by enhancing our mirrorless camera lineup and also expanding sales of full-frame models, particularly the EOS R.

We expect the market for camera equipped with full-frame sensors, which offer superlative descriptive performance, to continue growing at a stable rate. The customer base of this market are particular about image expression and pair their cameras with various lenses depending on the images they intend to capture. We will strive to improve total profitability by expanding sales of the full-frame model like the EOS R which will lead to expanded sales of lenses that have high profitability.

Due to the proliferation of smartphones, the number of people capturing images is increasing and this is widening the range of users seeking image capture features as high zoom ratios and video functions. In response, we are broadening our horizon with regard to image capture and will launch models that don’t fall under the typical notion of what a camera is.

For interchangeable-lens cameras, the market in 2018 was down 10% to 10.3 million units. Our sales were down 9% to 5.04 million units, which is a slower rate of decline than the market and reflects sales growth of our mirrorless cameras, including the EOS M50, a strategic entry-class model that was launch in the first half. In 2019, we expect the market to continue to decline, shrinking 7% to 9.6 million units. Despite facing a shrinking DSLR market, we expect our interchangeable-lens camera sales overall to be 4.7 million units as we grow unit sales through new mirrorless cameras, including the ones that were launched last year.

Next, compact cameras. In 2018, the market was down 22% to 10.5 million units. And in 2019, we expect the market to decline at a continuing rate of around 20%, reaching 8.5 million units. We expect our own unit sales to decline in line with the market. From a profitability perspective, however, we expect steady improvement thanks to a higher proportion of sales coming from our G series.

Canon's imaging goals in 2019 and beyond:

  • Strengthen presence in the mirrorless camera market
    • Expand lineup of products with the EOS R system at its core.
    • Accelerate the development of new products.
  • Improve Profitability
    • Raise proportion of full-frame models.
    • Expand sales of lenses that have high profitability.
    • Expand the scope of production automation.

  • New Category Cameras
    • Stylishly designed cameras for young people that are waterproof and highly durable
    • Cameras optimized for outdoor use in situations where smartphones have difficulty
    • Cameras equipped with AI that automatically capture images
    • Cameras that capture the decisive moment in various scenes
  • Focus on improving product mix amid expectations

You can check out the full financial results data at Canon Global.

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