Infographic: What Happened to the Camera Industry in 2018?

Canon Rumors Guy

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Jul 20, 2010
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The folks at Lensvid have released their annual “What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2018?” infographic.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that camera and lens shipments continued to fall in 2018 by 24% and 7% respectively.
As far as camera sales splits go, DSLRs and mirrorless saw increases of share in 2018, at the expense of compact cameras. Mirrorless only saw a modest 100,000 unit increase in sales in 2018 compared to 2017, while DSLR shipments fell by about a million units.
I think we’re nearing the end of the slide and the industry will flatten out in the next year or two, even if Canon thinks we’re going to see a further 50% drop in the marketplace.
The EOS R, EOS RP, and all the new RF lenses should help with Canon’s sales numbers in 2019, but there doesn’t...
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neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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Mirrorless only saw a modest 100,000 unit increase in sales in 2018 compared to 2017, while DSLR shipments fell by about a million units.
I think this says that DSLRs and MILCs are just one market, not two, and that market is basically saturated
 

dolina

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Mirrorless is cannibalizing DSLR sales and not significantly adding new sales to the ILC market.

If no new 1D, 5D, 5Ds, 6D or 7D are announced within 17 months then do not expect any further direct DSLR upgrades anymore.

With such a deep decline in sales comes with very limited R&D money for developing new camera bodies, lenses and other accessories. These companies then need to prioritize expenditures for products that will not be eaten into by sibling product lines.

The strong showing of DSLR lens to mirrorless body adapters from Nikon and Canon is another indicator that both companies are focusing all their resources into mirrorless systems.

There is still a market for ILC among professionals and advanced amateurs. Upgrades among pros depends on the budget of their business. Advanced amateurs could be based on a use case or if the gear they have cannot be economically repaired anymore.

Rare would be the user who upgrades to the latest and greatest within 6 months of release because they want their new toys.

Improving economies of scale should be prioritized so the cost of production will not increase and cause a sale price hike. I expect camera makers to consolidate and unify models that are so similar into one. Take for example the Canon Digital Rebel DSLR. BH Photo currently sells 4 unique Digital Rebel models. Canon could consolidate all of them into one model for that product line.
 
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knight427

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Aug 27, 2018
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I think the video got one of their conjectures wrong. They show that dollars spent are decreasing much less rapidly than units sold. They then say that this could be the beginning of a vicious cycle of prices going up, further contacting the market, necessitating more price increases. However, I seem to remember attentive users here on this forum pointing out that lenses like Canon's 70-200 f.2.8iii launched at price well below where version ii launched. While this is only one anecdote, I suspect many other examples could be found to corroborate it. I suspect that there is a much more obvious thing happening than price increases (which would be easy to support with data). The data they use shows that the contraction is happen extremely fast at the low end of the market. I don't suspect I'll get push-back making an assumption that the low end products have lower margins (certainly that's how products made by my employer work). So when you lose your low margin products, you make less profit overall, but your average margin actually increases (and thus the sales dollars lost will be much less in comparison to unit sales lost). In other words, let's not freak out and assume the camera industry is going to eat itself alive (just yet).
 

LDS

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Mirrorless is cannibalizing DSLR sales
The drop in DSLR sales in far higher than the increased sales in mirroless, thereby they could have cannibalized only a fraction of that. Without knowing which types of DSLR sold less (low-end? High-end? Models in the middle?), it's hard to tell.

Did phones start to eat into low-end DSLR models sales? If so they could hit low-end mirrorless as well. Are customers post-poning upgrades waiting to see how the market configures itself between DSLR and mirrorless models - especially when they have new mounts?
 

knight427

EOS T7i
Aug 27, 2018
80
94
The drop in DSLR sales in far higher than the increased sales in mirroless, thereby they could have cannibalized only a fraction of that. Without knowing which types of DSLR sold less (low-end? High-end? Models in the middle?), it's hard to tell.

Did phones start to eat into low-end DSLR models sales? If so they could hit low-end mirrorless as well. Are customers post-poning upgrades waiting to see how the market configures itself between DSLR and mirrorless models - especially when they have new mounts?
But we do know where the sales are dropping off. It's the low end. All you have to do is read publicly available information.

https://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/IR/library/presen/er/pdf/18q3_sonyspeech.pd
1550067639016.png


https://global.canon/en/ir/conference/pdf/conf2018e-all.pdf
1550067665970.png
 
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dolina

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But we do know where the sales are dropping off. It's the low end. All you have to do is read publicly available information.

https://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/IR/library/presen/er/pdf/18q3_sonyspeech.pd
View attachment 183097

https://global.canon/en/ir/conference/pdf/conf2018e-all.pdf
View attachment 183098
This would explain the entry of Panasonic, Pentax and Zeiss into the full frame camera body market.

Why Fuji, Leica, and Pentax are now selling larger than full frame cameras.

Another indicator of the declining of sales of smaller image sensor cameras are how much more full frame lenses are sold than cropped lenses.
 

dolina

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The drop in DSLR sales in far higher than the increased sales in mirroless, thereby they could have cannibalized only a fraction of that. Without knowing which types of DSLR sold less (low-end? High-end? Models in the middle?), it's hard to tell.

Did phones start to eat into low-end DSLR models sales? If so they could hit low-end mirrorless as well. Are customers post-poning upgrades waiting to see how the market configures itself between DSLR and mirrorless models - especially when they have new mounts?
Canon CEO noted mirrorless camera sales aren't adding to its bottom line, but are instead eating into the sales of DSLRs. This may very well have played into the reason Canon opted to release only one mirrorless camera in 2018 and doesn't appear to be in a rush to get many more out by the end of 2019. It may have also been a factor in both Canon and Nikon taking so long to get into the full-frame mirrorless market; if all the capital put towards research and development (R&D) is only going to cannibalize your money makers, there's not much need to rush the new technology. - DPREVIEW

Looking at the transition from FD to EF mount, CIPA sales figures of the last 8 years, Canon CEO's January 2019 interview leads me to believe that the window of opportunity of another generation of DSLR refreshes will close by July 2020.

If none appears then expect Nikon & Canon to go all out for their new Z mount and RF mount full frame mirrorless camera systems.
 
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