Sony FF mirrorless market share collapse in Japan reaching milestone, Canon takeover imminent

woodman411

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If these numbers are accurate, the trajectory for Sony FF mirrorless market share and Canon's will cross each other within the next month or two, placing Canon as the top FF mirrorless maker in the home market and relegating the once dominant Sony to 2nd place. If this sounds familiar, it is because the overall market share of ILC's including mirrorless and DSLR's are in this order, with Canon at a dominating 45% of overall worldwide share for all of 2019, and Sony at a distant 20% second place.

What is remarkable about Sony's home market share collapse is the speed in which this happened. As recently as June 2018 Sony had a 100% share, and with the entrance of Canon and Nikon, started a steep decline followed by a slow recovery, and now another noticeable decline triggered by the Canon R5/R6 entrance. This has culminated in a new all-time low of 43.9% Sony share, a staggering 56% loss in just over 2 years, and continuing. This precipitous drop in Sony share is in sharp contrast to the pro-Sony headlines that gives an impression of the opposite happening - that Sony is the one dominating. "Sony conquers Canon", "Sony dominates mirrorless markets, and the competition is a long way behind", "Sony overtakes Canon", etc. While market share undulation is normal month-to-month, making headlines based on these undulations in Sony's favor is not only insignificant, it is misleading.

The wide-angle market view shows a more accurate picture of trends and the real deal, so to speak. With the annual aggregate sales of 2019 showing that Canon actually gained more market share (+2.4%) despite its dominant position than its nearest rival Sony (+0.9%), combined with this imminent Canon takeover of the home FF mirrorless market, it is more accurate to worry about the competition's health in keeping Canon vigilant and hungry. It will be interesting to see if Sony can slow down or reverse this trend in the coming months, as pro-Sony aspirations look increasingly obscure and irrelevant.
 
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Sporgon

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It's inevitable really given that the two major ICL camera manufacturers were totally ascent from the FF mirrorless market. Once they entered it Sony's sales were going to take a big hit, and Sony would have been aware of this. However I'm surprised that in the time the market was cornered they didn't seem to go out of their way to address the steady stream of criticism centred on ergonomics and menus, and so do more to protect themselves from the coming tidal wave that was Canon and Nikon.
 
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Jethro

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... and so do more to protect themselves from the coming tidal wave that was Canon and Nikon.
To me the more interesting part of those stats was how Nikon has been flat-lining (at a low ~10%). They must have had a similar development budget to Canon (at least for FFM bodies if not for lenses) and they would have to be disappointed? If the 'big 3' are in danger of contracting to 2, I'm not sure it's Sony in the firing line.
 

Codebunny

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To me the more interesting part of those stats was how Nikon has been flat-lining (at a low ~10%). They must have had a similar development budget to Canon (at least for FFM bodies if not for lenses) and they would have to be disappointed? If the 'big 3' are in danger of contracting to 2, I'm not sure it's Sony in the firing line.

Nikon are just starting to fire up. Canon have a head start. There are way more Nikon users than Sony and they are all waiting for just the right mirrorless Nikon to upgrade to and use their 50+ years of lenses on. Nikon and Canon are coming with a range of tilt-shifts, f/1.2 glass, super telephotos, and specialised things like the MPE-65. Sony only really competes in the wedding and kinda in sports with 2 super-tele.
 
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Czardoom

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I have been critical of Sony - both because I briefly owned their cameras - which I would consider them more of a tech gadget made for gear-heads than a serious camera for photographers - but more because of the fanboy network which spreads their propaganda on forums and YouTube videos. So, I would be very happy to see them go down and go down hard, but, please, their lead is still over 9%. The fact that they dropped form 100% is meaningless as they were the only one selling mirrorless FF. So, as soon as Canon and Nikon joined the game, we could have expected a huge drop. As long as their share is above 33%, they are succeeding.

So, in actuality, there has been no collapse. And being 9% behind, Canon's takeoever is far from immanent. I hope it happens, but as long as Sony's fanboy network remains strong, they are in no danger of collapsing, in my opinion.
 

Del Paso

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I believe this could also be due to Canon having quickly developed many extremely attractive new lenses, Sony cannot easily develop (bayonet size !).
These new lenses, often criticized for being expensive, turned out to be a major argument in favor of Canon, it's a system one is buying.
Where are the Sony f 1,2 lenses, the luminous zoom, the super-compact tele-zooms, the affordable 600 or 800 teles?
Plus, of course, ergonomics, service and the wide choice of R cameras.
And, last not least, the EF lenses (TSE, fisheyes etc...).
 

SteveC

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So, as soon as Canon and Nikon joined the game, we could have expected a huge drop.

Strictly speaking, this isn't necessarily so. Canon and Nikon *could hypothetically* have introduced duds that barely made an impact on the mirrorless market.

Of course, that's not what actually *did* happen.
 

Jethro

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Nikon are just starting to fire up. Canon have a head start. There are way more Nikon users than Sony and they are all waiting for just the right mirrorless Nikon to upgrade to and use their 50+ years of lenses on. Nikon and Canon are coming with a range of tilt-shifts, f/1.2 glass, super telephotos, and specialised things like the MPE-65. Sony only really competes in the wedding and kinda in sports with 2 super-tele.
Maybe - but every time I see one of these lists (in pretty much any category) over a number of years Nikon are a distant 2nd or 3rd (depending on mirrorless or not). Maybe they're about to come good, but gee they're taking their time about it. I mean, they have plenty of other imaging areas in their business, so I don't see them going broke any time soon - but categories such as FF cameras are probably not as iconic to them as they have been in past decades.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

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I'd be skeptical of statistics. Losing market share may not mean lower sales, it may mean juts a lower percentage of increasing sales.

Below is a chart for 2020 showing production of mirrorless cameras. There are lots of ways to intrepret this, mine is simple, two new cameras hit the market and owners likely decided to switch from DSLR's plus, sales overall have recovered from the early days of Covid19. The two combined have bumped up sales more than expected, and Canons new models give them a benefit. The high demand will keep on for Canon Mirrorless into early 2021. Canon intends to keep their foot on the pedal with more nw models next year. That means they gain market share but mostly due to more sales with some taken from Sony and Nikon.

Japan was not hit so hard by Covid19 so the sales slump was shallower and the increase in Mirrorless sales is smaller.

I did not show previous years, overall sales did decrease this year, we don't know what will happen next year.

Mirrorless production.JPG
 

Mt Spokane Photography

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The point is that a person can interpret data to fit a agenda so can you. Its not simple and the experts have already been proven wrong this year, they did not predict the sales recovery.
 
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Joules

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two new cameras hit the market and owners likely decided to switch from DSLR's plus
All good points. I would just add that Sony did also introduce two major cameras. Mainly the A7sIII, but also the A7c. The former being the most commonly compared with the R5 as far as I've seen (as if they actually compete) and the latter being just released, so it probably doesn't factor into the data presented.

I think there is at least a comparison to be made on the relevance of these bodies for each company.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

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All good points. I would just add that Sony did also introduce two major cameras. Mainly the A7sIII, but also the A7c. The former being the most commonly compared with the R5 as far as I've seen (as if they actually compete) and the latter being just released, so it probably doesn't factor into the data presented.

I think there is at least a comparison to be made on the relevance of these bodies for each company.

There is definitely room for different opinions as to the meaning of the data. The bump in production is likely mostly Canon because the two cameras are not upgrades but totally new. In the case of Sony, a new model will generate some new sales and some upgrading from the previous model but its apparently not a big factor. It could be as simple as their being crowded out by the 8K hype.

I shoot stills but did a 10 second 8K video clip out of curiosity. My PC skipped playing it back but it played which amazed me, but I don't expect to do video's.
 

Joules

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There is definitely room for different opinions as to the meaning of the data. The bump in production is likely mostly Canon because the two cameras are not upgrades but totally new. In the case of Sony, a new model will generate some new sales and some upgrading from the previous model but its apparently not a big factor. It could be as simple as their being crowded out by the 8K hype.

I shoot stills but did a 10 second 8K video clip out of curiosity. My PC skipped playing it back but it played which amazed me, but I don't expect to do video's.
Well, the marketing is that the R6 and R5 are just the 6D III and 5D V with new mounts, right? Although the R6 is a sort of odd continuation of that line, moving down market in resolution and upmarket in all other aspects.

And supposedly, the Sony folks absolutely craved the long overdue update to the A7S II which came out October 2015, now 5 years ago. That's an eternity for a Sony body, so you would think the number of users upgrading would be higher than usual.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

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Well, the marketing is that the R6 and R5 are just the 6D III and 5D V with new mounts, right? Although the R6 is a sort of odd continuation of that line, moving down market in resolution and upmarket in all other aspects.

And supposedly, the Sony folks absolutely craved the long overdue update to the A7S II which came out October 2015, now 5 years ago. That's an eternity for a Sony body, so you would think the number of users upgrading would be higher than usual.
There were some reports that Sony had to pull back on the camera features due to shortages of a electronic component needed for the original design. That might have slowed initial sales.

 

woodman411

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It's inevitable really given that the two major ICL camera manufacturers were totally ascent from the FF mirrorless market. Once they entered it Sony's sales were going to take a big hit, and Sony would have been aware of this.

This was not guaranteed to happen, especially with the lukewarm reception and widespread media criticism of the R. If you look at the second half of 2019 when Sony was recovering share and crested above 60% at one point, many headlines were trumpeting Sony's dominance. The glowing Sony reviews (eg. DPReview) during the 2017-2019 time period had a Apple-Nokia vibe where it was viewed that Sony was the full-frame market disruptor (a la iPhone) and Canon was the established dinosaur.

To me the more interesting part of those stats was how Nikon has been flat-lining (at a low ~10%). They must have had a similar development budget to Canon (at least for FFM bodies if not for lenses) and they would have to be disappointed? If the 'big 3' are in danger of contracting to 2, I'm not sure it's Sony in the firing line.

When Nikon started adopting Sony sensors in their FF lineup, it was simply a matter of time before Sony would overtake them, as mirrorless technology is increasingly sensor + processor driven, and mirrorless slowly takes over. Hovering in and around 10% share, Nikon needs the second generation Z series to make a splash like the R5/R6 has. Also unlike Sony and Canon, Nikon does not have a cinema division where various products can overlap, putting them at another disadvantage. At a macro level, combining these factors in addition to the lack of wow-factor in the Z lens lineup, I join the camp where it is viewed that Nikon will eventually fade into irrelevance as it becomes a two-horse race between Canon and Sony.

I have been critical of Sony - both because I briefly owned their cameras - which I would consider them more of a tech gadget made for gear-heads than a serious camera for photographers - but more because of the fanboy network which spreads their propaganda on forums and YouTube videos. So, I would be very happy to see them go down and go down hard, but, please, their lead is still over 9%. The fact that they dropped form 100% is meaningless as they were the only one selling mirrorless FF. So, as soon as Canon and Nikon joined the game, we could have expected a huge drop. As long as their share is above 33%, they are succeeding.

So, in actuality, there has been no collapse. And being 9% behind, Canon's takeoever is far from immanent. I hope it happens, but as long as Sony's fanboy network remains strong, they are in no danger of collapsing, in my opinion.

Did you see the graph? Sony lost more than 10% share within the past 2 months, coinciding with the R5/R6 production increase. Short of an A series fire sale, there is nothing from Sony that can slow this in the next few months (it has probably already happened, as the referenced graph is two months behind). Also, the point of my post was to highlight trends and where the numbers are heading. 2nd half of 2019 Sony and Canon lines were diverging, then in 2020 it started converging, and now we are at the precipice of something big - Canon moving on top of the FF mirrorless market. How much Canon surges ahead of Sony, and whether Sony can reverse this trend, only time will tell.

I'd be skeptical of statistics. Losing market share may not mean lower sales, it may mean juts a lower percentage of increasing sales.

Market share shows how one is doing relative to the competition, which is the crux of this thread. This is not really a discussion of overall market health, sales, or profits. I agree that short term market share statistics should be viewed with a grain of salt, which is why the referenced graph spans across years.
 
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