For readers who enjoy getting periodic updates on statistics on the camera market, this year-end 2016 market update provides a few slides detailing market volumes globally and by geographic region, as well as some insights on the relative size of various regions in terms of their importance.
NOTE: Click on graphs to enlarge.
Since one of the bigger camera news items in 2016 was Nikon’s cancellation of the DL Series of cameras I thought having a look at the fixed lens camera market volumes would be a good start to this update.
As you can see in the slide above the fixed lens camera market continued its precipitous decline in 2016. As I noted in an earlier article I think these market conditions contributed to Nikon’s decision to cancel the DL line. The fixed lens camera market peaked at over 110 million units in 2008 and has declined to just over 12 million units in 2016.
The slide above further details the volume of fixed lens cameras by geographic region as determined by CIPA. You can see that all regions have experienced dramatic losses in fixed lens camera volume with the Americas and Europe showing the largest unit declines.
In terms of fixed lens camera regional importance, Europe is still the world’s largest market representing over 35% of volume in 2016. You’ll note that the Japanese market has been gaining in importance over the past 5 years or so as its rate of unit volume decline has been less severe than other regions.
Unit volume of interchangeable lens cameras grew steadily from 2003 and peaked in 2012 at just over 20 million units. While this market has been declining it has been doing so at a much slower rate than the fixed lens camera market.
All regions have experienced a decline in the unit volume of interchangeable lens cameras with Asia now being the largest market for this type of camera.
The slide above shows that the market in Asia now accounts for over 35% of interchangeable camera volume. The Americas, once the largest global market for interchangeable lens cameras is now third behind both Asia and Europe.
Beginning in 2012 CIPA began to break out DSLRs and MirrorLess cameras in their reporting. In the slide above you can see that the unit volumes of DSLRs has been in decline for many years with the rate of decline moderately slightly the past two years. The unit volumes of DSLRs has declined from over 16 million units in 2012 to approximately 8.5 million in 2016.
The Asian market is the world’s largest market for DSLRs, with the Americas and Europe posting about the same market volumes. The market in Japan has seen a slight increase in DSLR volume the past two years.
Asia has been the most important market for DSLRs, representing about 35% of market volume for the past three years.
It may be a surprise to many readers, but the unit volumes of mirrorless cameras has not increased over the past 5 year period. Since 2012 when CIPA first began to report mirrorless cameras this type of equipment has gone from almost 4 million units down to just over 3.15 million units in 2016.
Asia is the only region that has shown unit growth in mirrorless cameras over the past three years. Europe has been flat with declines in Japan and fairly flat volumes in the Americas. The Americas is the smallest regional market for mirrorless cameras.
The importance of the market in Asia for mirrorless cameras has increased by over 10% from 2012 to 2016, now sitting at over 45% of global unit volume.
The unit volume of interchangeable lenses increased steadily from 2003 through to 2012 when the market peaked with over 30 million lenses. Volumes have been declining since 2012 with almost 19.2 million lenses in 2016.
All regional markets have seen declines in lens volume since 2012. Volumes in Asia have been slightly ahead of the Americas and Europe for the past three years.
As you can see in the above slide the importance of the market in Asia has increased dramatically since 2003, growing from 11.7% of global volume to about 30.6% in 2012. The Americas has declined in importance during this same time period, falling from about 40% down to 28%.
I find this final slide very instructive as it shows that the unit volume of interchangeable lenses is larger than fixed lens cameras, or interchangeable lens cameras – both DSLRs and mirrorless.
Strategically this final slide indicates to me that camera companies will need to concentrate more on developing and marketing interchangeable lenses to create a profitable product portfolio. Also, given the precipitous decline of fixed lens cameras I think we’ll see more higher-end speciality fixed lens cameras and the eventual complete disappearance of inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras. I think this final slide also helps to explain why the Nikon DL Series of cameras were cancelled.
So far in 2017 with only January and February CIPA data available, there are hints that the camera market is stabilizing a bit. Unit volumes of fixed lens cameras is still declining but so far in 2017 volume is down about 3.9% compared to the same period in 2016. Interchangeable lens are up slightly with a 1% increased year-over-year. Interchangeable lens cameras are up over 11% so far in 2017.
January and February are traditionally small volume months so we’ll have to monitor things are 2017 progresses. Once March 2017 CIPA data is available I will do a first quarter 2017 update.
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