Interchangeable lens market dynamics

This is the third (and possibly final article) in our short series that discusses various aspects of the digital camera market. I have an idea for an article that would describe the importance of various regional camera markets around the globe. Readers will need to let me know if they have any interest in such a piece. This article contains some CIPA information pertaining to interchangeable lens market dynamics.

NOTE: click on graphics to enlarge.

product segment value

Over the past decade there has been a dramatic shift in the composition of the digital camera market. The shipment value of the built-in camera market has collapsed from almost 73% of value in 2006 to only 23% in 2015.

During this same period the interchangeable lens market has grown from about 10% of shipment value in 2006 to almost 34% in 2015.

number of new products

As you can see in the above graphic, this has led to manufacturers realigning their R&D priorities and producing more new, interchangeable lenses over the past few years.

lens market composition

The interchangeable lenses required by 35mm (full frame) camera owners differs significantly from the needs of photographers who use smaller sensor (i.e. less than 35mm format) cameras. As noted in the chart above, the use of prime lenses is significantly higher in the 35mm (full frame) market segment with 36% penetration. This compares to only 6% penetration with users of smaller sensor cameras.

Zoom lenses are much preferred by owners of smaller sensor cameras and based on 2015 CIPA data 93% of their lens purchases are zoom lenses. This compares to only 58% of 35mm (full frame) format owners.

prime vs zoom lenses

When we look at the entire, worldwide interchangeable lens market we discover that zoom lenses are preferred to a significant degree over prime lenses by a ratio of about 5.6:1. About 85% of all lens sales globally are zoom lenses.

lens unit sales

Far more lenses for smaller sensor cameras are sold each year than those for 35mm (full frame) format gear.

lens shipment value

Even though there are far fewer 35mm (full frame) format interchangeable lenses sold, their total shipment value has recently overtaken the smaller sensor format lenses.

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