Digital camera market winners and losers

This second instalment of our small series of articles, which examine CIPA statistics related  to the digital camera market, will look at winners and losers (on a relative basis).

NOTE: Click on graphics to enlarge

As we discussed in the first article of this series, the digital camera market’s unit volume peaked in 2010 with over 121 million cameras sold. A dramatic drop in unit sales quickly followed as many consumers began to rely more and more on the convenience of their phones for their photography needs.

volume built-in vs. ilc

As we can see in the graphic above, the built-in lens camera segment took the biggest hit in terms of this drop in unit sales volume.

number of new products

Various camera manufacturers responded pretty quickly to this shift in the market and they began to realign their research and development efforts away from the built-in lens camera segment. As you can see in the graphic above this resulted in the number of new built-in lens camera models introduced being cut in half between 2012 and 2015.

While those cuts in product development of built-in lens cameras were happening there was an increase in the development of interchangeable lenses and a temporary up-tick in the number of new interchangeable lens cameras introduced.

units by camera type

As noted in the graphic above, the relative unit size of camera segments began to shift significantly. The impact of non-SLR (i.e. mirror-less) cameras also became noticeable by 2012. Within a four year period mirror-less cameras more than doubled their percentage of unit penetration from 4% in 2012 to 9.5% in 2015. The unit sales of DSLR’s remained more resilient than that of the built-in camera segment. As a result DSLR’s became significantly more important in the overall market mix, growing to over 25% of total digital camera unit sales by 2015.

value by camera type

In addition, when we look at the shipment value of the various camera segments we see a significant drop in the built-in lens camera segment. By 2015 it represented just over 1/3 of total shipment value.

slr unit share of market

With the introduction of mirror-less cameras the interchangeable lens camera market also began to shift. By 2015 mirror-less cameras accounted for over 25% of the unit volume of interchangeable lens cameras.

slr share of shipment value

The shipment value of mirror-less cameras initially lagged behind their unit sales penetration. By 2015 this imbalance was corrected with the shipment value of mirror-less cameras reaching almost 26%.

ILC camera value

As we can see in the chart above, manufacturers of mirror-less cameras appear to have used pricing as part of their initial launch strategy. Then, as the new technology gained acceptance their pricing of cameras was increased to match that of DSLR’s.

product segment value

The past decade has seen a dramatic realignment of the shipment value of the three basic product categories in the digital camera market. The interchangeable lens camera segment is now the largest value segment, followed by interchangeable lenses. The built-in camera segment has fallen to a distant third, and will likely continue to drop at a faster rate than interchangeable lens cameras.

As we can see in the graphic above the importance of the interchangeable lens market in terms of its overall share of shipment value has grown significantly. This helps to explain the number of new lenses that have been introduced over the past 3-4 years. In our next article we’ll look at the interchangeable lens market.

Next article in the series: Interchangeable lens market dynamics

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3 thoughts on “Digital camera market winners and losers”

  1. Affordability is one of the main reasons. As the price drops and more capabilities get introduced, more people tend to buy cameras. For a lot of people the zoom cameras seem to work. While the mirrorless cameras seem to catch up and increase in share the DSLR’s continue to rule the roost – many sites I visit feel DSLR’s outdo mirror less. I feel that by using one’s camera within the boundaries of what it does best and trying to improve on skills therein with better composition. For instance when I use my 35mm prime I cannot aim at shooting faraway subjects. WIth proper composition techniques and using the glass and camera the right way, I feel one can end up with good shots. Your site using the V1 is a good example. However its good for the industry if more and more people are able to afford a good camera. Cheers.

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