Camera Market Heading for Modest Increase Over 2016

The June 2017 CIPA statistics are now available, which allowed us to do a brief mid-year analysis. Our assessment is that the camera market is heading for a modest increase over 2016.

NOTE: Click on graphs to enlarge.

Based on our analysis of 10 years of CIPA statistics, it would appear that the overall digital camera market will register a modest increase over 2016. At this point, our estimate for the digital camera market for 2017 is approximately 27.825 million units. If current trends hold, that would represent a 15% increase over the 24.19 million units shipped in 2016.

A good portion of the unit shipment increase will likely come from the fixed lens camera market. Our current estimate for this market is approximately 15.1 million units, up from 12.5 million units in 2016. This represents an increase of almost 21%, but still below 2015 volumes.

Europe is the most important regional market for fixed lens cameras, representing over 35% on a year-to-date basis. The Americas have edged up slightly in importance, now representing about 27% of the global fixed lens camera market. Japan and Asia are quite close, each coming in the high teens on a year-to-date basis.

The interchangeable lens camera market is also trending to show a modest increase over 2016 shipment volumes. At this point we are estimating that the interchangeable lens camera market will come in at approximately 13 million units, up from 11.6 million units in 2016. This represents a 12% increase in shipment volume. 2017 could come very close to equalling 2015 volume.

As noted in earlier 2017 camera market updates, the market in Asia is capturing an increasing share of the global interchangeable lens camera market. On a year-to-date basis the Asian market is about 38.8% of the global market. This is followed by the market in Europe at 26.8%, the Americas at 21.9%, and Japan at 10.4%.

As 2017 has progressed the shipments of DSLRs have softened somewhat. We are now estimating that the shipment volume of DSLRs will come in at approximately 7.87 million units, down from 8.44 million units in 2016. This represents a decline of about 6.7%.

The importance of Asia in the DSLR market has declined in 2017, mainly due to an increase in mirrorless camera shipments as we’ll see in a moment. Asia is still the most important DSLR market, representing 33.3% of shipments, but this is down sharply from 2016. The DSLR market in Europe now represents about 29.7% of global shipments. This is followed by the Americas at 26.3% and Japan at 8.9%. As you can see in the above graph, the DSLR market in Japan has been in sharp decline in terms of importance for a number of years.

As reported in some of my earlier 2017 camera market updates, the shipments of mirrorless cameras is tracking towards a significant increase in shipment volume. If current trends continue we are estimating that the mirrorless market will be approximately 4.93 million units, an increase of approximately 56% over 2016.

The share of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras is estimated to reach 36.2% of the interchangeable lens camera market in 2017. This represents a significant increase in penetration, driven mainly by the market in Asia where mirrorless cameras are approximately 45% of the interchangeable lens camera market.

Asia remains the most important market for mirrorless cameras, accounting for just under 50% of global shipment volume. Europe is the second most important market with just over 20% of shipment volume. The Americas and Japan are both in the low teens.

Based on year-to-date shipment volume, we estimate that the global interchangeable lens market is also on track to show a modest gain in 2017. If the current trend holds we estimate the market to be approximately 20.5 million units, a 6.8% increase over the 19.2 million units in 2016.

As 2017 progresses further, it will be interesting to see if current trends in the camera market hold and represent an increase in shipment volumes on an annual basis. The 2016 earthquakes in Japan and the related disruption in camera parts supply they caused may have contributed to some pent up demand being filled in 2017.

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2 thoughts on “Camera Market Heading for Modest Increase Over 2016”

  1. Hi Tom
    Thank you for the analysis. Sadly, there are no more details. First, of course, brands. Then, models. But I suppose that would be too much asked, camera makers are not prolificient with those numbers.
    I would wish, Nikon 1 coming stron in the first quarter 2018 ( and ever after) 😉. Just as a precaution for future I bought on ebay a J5, this time a panda 😄.

    1. Hi Robert,
      I also wish there was more camera data that was available to the public free of charge! I’ve also been taking precautions with my Nikon 1 kit and added a couple of V3s this year…one new one, and one used unit with a low shutter count.

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