CIPA published their 2016 report and 2017 outlook



CIPA published their 2016 report and 2017 outlook for camera and lens shipments (see the list of participating companies):

  • Total shipments decline 31.7% year on year; interchangeable lens camera shipments as percent of total shipments grow to 48%
  • Shipments of interchangeable lens cameras contract 11.1% year on year
  • Shipments of interchangeable lenses shrink 11.4%
  • Total shipments (the cumulative total of shipments from January to December) of digital cameras in 2017 are projected to be 21.70 million units, a year-on-year decline of 10.3%.

Here is the detailed report:

2017 Outlook on the Shipment Forecast by Product-Type Concerning Cameras and Related Goods

The Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA, President: Hiroyuki Sasa) has announced the outlook on the shipment forecast by product-type concerning cameras and related goods for the 2017 term.

1. Track record of shipments 2016

Total shipments decline 31.7% year on year; interchangeable lens camera shipments as percent of total shipments grow to 48%

Total shipments of digital cameras in 2016 (the cumulative total of shipments from January to December) fell 31.7% year on year to 24.20 million units.

Since CIPA began compiling records in 1999, digital camera shipments recorded steady growth, surpassing 100 million units for the first time in 2007. However, shipments fell for the first time in 2009 due to the global recession. Although shipments returned to growth in 2010, they fell again in 2011 because of the serious impact on production from the Great East Japan Earthquake and flooding in Thailand. Since then, shipments have continued to decline, and experienced a year on year decrease of more than 30% in 2016.

The impact of the Kumamoto Earthquake in April, 2016 was not minor, causing the big factory of major digital camera parts to shut down its operation temporarily by the direct hit. However, shipments showed a remarkable recovery trend after the autumn when supply of the parts resumed. Based on this trend, 2017 is regarded as a promising year for the rebound of the industry, and for getting off a good start with keeping the pedal to the metal from the beginning of the year.

While the total shipments continued to fall, those of digital cameras with interchangeable lenses which are high-added-value and high-price products, are accounting for a greater and greater share of total shipments–––27% in 2013, 32% in 2014, 37% in 2015, and 48% in 2016, coming close to 50%. The industrial structure has changed.

Shipments of interchangeable lens cameras contract 11.1% year on year

Shipments of digital cameras with a built-in lens (so called compact digital cameras) declined 43.7% year on year to 12.60 million units.

Although shipments ended up being extremely weak, it cannot be stated definitely that the weak shipments reflected real ability when considering the influence of the Kumamoto Earthquake. We will hope for expansion, including new products of each company after this spring.

Shipments of digital cameras with interchangeable lenses fell 11.1% year on year to 11.60 million units.
Shipments remained low, at about 70% of the previous year’s, immediately after the Kumamoto Earthquake, but they recovered by around 90% in autumn, reaching double-digit growth toward the end of the year, and total annual shipments also reached nearly 90% of the previous year’s.

Broken down by regions, shipments of digital cameras with built-in lenses to Japan contracted 31.6 % year on year, while shipments to regions outside of Japan fell 45.8%. As for shipments of digital cameras with interchangeable lenses, those to Japan shrank 21.2% year on year while those to regions outside of Japan declined 9.6%. Shipments of digital cameras with interchangeable lenses to regions outside of Japan are driving the recovery.

Digital cameras with built-in lenses have faced fierce competition with the smartphone. However, digital cameras with interchangeable lenses provide picture quality that is different from that of smartphones and demonstrate unrestricted expressiveness when combined with highly individualistic interchangeable lenses, and sales of these cameras remain firm.

On the other hand, with respect to smartphones, various statistics are published concerning the aspects that are different from those at the time when the smartphone made an incredible leap forward. We would like to keep a close eye on the trend of the product-type, whether it will be a favorable wind for digital cameras with a built-in lens, which produce images worthy of authentic cameras.

Models that propose fun that surpasses that by smartphones are being put into this product-type one after another, including 360-degree panorama or VR cameras, waterproof action cams, and cameras with high-magnification zoom lenses.

Shipments of interchangeable lenses shrink 11.4%

Digital cameras with interchangeable lenses are not only high-added-value products but also system products that demonstrate their full capabilities when used with interchangeable lenses.

Shipments of lenses for these cameras totaled 19.20 million units, a year-on-year decrease of 11.4%.
Although it was impossible to avoid a link with the sluggish production of digital cameras with interchangeable lenses, the paired body for those lenses, the previous trend, shipment volume about 1.6-1.7 times that of digital cameras with an interchangeable lens, has been maintained.

2. Outlook on shipments in 2017

Total shipments (the cumulative total of shipments from January to December) of digital cameras in 2017 are projected to be 21.70 million units, a year-on-year decline of 10.3%.

Broken down by product-type, shipments of digital cameras with built-in lenses are projected to be 10.50 million units (a year-on-year fall of 16.7%). Of those, shipments to Japan and those to regions outside of Japan are projected to be 1.80 million units (a year-on-year decrease of 18.2%) and 8.70 million units (a year-on-year decline of 15.5%), respectively. Shipments of digital cameras with an interchangeable lens are projected to be 11.20 million units (a year-on-year fall of 3.4%). Of those, shipments to Japan and those to regions outside of Japan are projected to be 1.20 million units (a year-on-year decline of 7.7%) and 10.00 million units (a year-on-year decrease of 2.9%), respectively.

Shipments of lenses for cameras with interchangeable lenses are projected to fall 6.2% year on year to 18.00 million units. Of those, shipments to Japan and those to regions outside of Japan are projected to decline 8.0% year on year to 2.30 million units and 6.0% year on year to 15.70 million units, respectively.

In addition to the step-up demand from users who have come to enjoy taking photos because of smartphones and want digital cameras, expectation for another step-up demand from the existing users of digital cameras who replace with or buy better digital cameras will remain high. Therefore, it is expected that demand for digital cameras with interchangeable lenses will remain firm compared to that for digital cameras with built-in lenses.

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  • Zos Xavius

    It’s looking pretty grim frankly.

    • Thom Hogan

      Funny, the Japanese execs are all saying things finally look like they’ve bottomed out ;~).

      • nwcs

        Seems like we’re probably a few years away from “equilibrium” unless something amazing/unexpected happens in the market.

        • Thom Hogan

          Here’s the way I look at it: the Japanese companies are all trying to go upscale in their offerings. Olympus, for example, is now up to US$2000 for their latest. Canon/Nikon really would like you to buy a US$3000+ DSLR. Sony initially grabbed some market share in mirrorless, but more recently has been pushing their pricing (and capabilities) up.

          But, if you ask more for a camera, you’re going to get fewer takers. People will update less often. The question is whether the Japanese think that they see the point in the future where the higher priced gear has a regular upgrade cycle that creates a stable sales curve. I think that’s what they’re saying.

          I’m not so sure.

          • nwcs

            While I understand the rationale of increasing the average selling price I think this approach will ultimately fail as it will really impact the public perception of dedicated cameras. They may end up looking like pure luxuries and speed up the shrinkage of the market.

          • br0xibear

            “They may end up looking like pure luxuries and speed up the shrinkage of the market”
            That’s already happening and will continue to happen. All camera manufacturers will become far smaller, their equipment far more expensive and bought only by enthusiasts and professionials.
            Cameras inside phones will become better and better and that’s all most people will use…there’s no getting away from it.
            I’m surprises neither Canon or Nikon have partnered with any of the phone makers, as Huawei and Leica have.

          • nwcs

            I think it’s too late for Canon and Nikon to be involved with the phone makers except as a novelty. Fuji does some of the behind the scenes work and Sony has a great deal of it already.

            What I was meaning is that as they push the prices even higher it will be harder for even many enthusiasts to justify the money to move up thus accelerating the perception that these are luxuries.

            It has happened some already for sure. I just see this particular approach to the market shrinkage to be uncharacteristically short term thinking for traditional Japanese makers.

          • decentrist

            How do you explain the new Tamron 70-200 VC3 coming in at 1299 full retail price?

          • Zos Xavius

            I’m not so sure either. I talked to a friend today about this and he brought up a good point: the market is completely over saturated with cameras. There are more cameras sitting around than people using them. He feels that most people don’t see much point in upgrading, that the technology has matured enough to plateau. I don’t think that is the whole story, but it is probably another factor.

        • I remember this same conversation 25 years ago about point and shoots becoming so advanced it was obliterating the SLR market too. Then 10 to 15 years ago about digicams

          History shows similar trends with disruptive photographic technologies since start of photography.

          There many more photography companies making cameras 30 years ago than now.

          Only major change this time around is cameras became more like computers and everyone wants new model in 12-18 month product cycle, but in film days on Nikon we go ten yeas between pro-bodies and closer to four between consumer bodies.

          Digital camera is finally maturing to point where product cycles can go back to where they were; and people use camera till they wear out.

          All this “jack prices up to offset a decade of inflated consumer spending” is just greed. Camera makers did well for many decades without having consume need new camera every 18 months.

  • TinusVerdino

    The market needs a technological break through. Right now there are great developments in operation speed, but that really only benefits sports shooters and the like. New sensor technology that delivers ISO 100 performance at 1600 tot 3200 would be nice. Still the market will never be as large as when digital broke through and everybody needed one. These developments are only interesting to enthusiasts. The masses shoot with their phones. So that’s where most research will go into. Large sensors can of course benefit from break trough’s in small sensor development.

  • RodneyKilo

    What are their annual forecasts vs actuals for each of the last five years? We’ll then be better able to judge how accurate they are at their issued forecasts.

    Been saying for a long time here that photo gear is way too expensive. When every product is declared to be a premium offering worthy of a premium price, nothing is.

    If it were easy to simply declare an item worthy of an inflated price, every consumer company on earth would pursue that strategy. It’s the market that ultimately determines if they buy that strategy.

    Couple that with the fact that the residual value of the last generation product is in the cellar, and the fact is you don’t really have a luxury premium product, you just have an overpriced product. A few iterations of that and the consumers says, forget it, I’m tired of taking a financial bath just to chase some minor feature changes.

    If I can’t tell the difference in result between a $500 Nikon D5500 and a $2000 Fuji X-T2, what’s my motivation for spending more? Impressing my friends- who don’t care? Impressing anonymous strangers on the interwebs?

    It’s sad, but artificial premium pricing for even a very nice consumer luxury product is not sustainable. Couple that with the demographics- old people are the ones with interests in hobbies, and they are only getting older- and you’ve lost a generation or two of enthusiasts on the same scale- not to mention buy-up enthusiasts.

    • You are right in a way, bodies are not that worth the hassle. Lenses however can have their place in luxury items. I bought myself a Zeiss Otus for quite a lot of money and it was a leap forward compared to my previous L lenses in terms of IQ. Of course, there are no electronics or anything, so it holds it value a bit better. But I think, considering the level of quality and complexity lenses have reached, not much is going to change in the next few years with enough impact to increase sales. A new 70-200mm 2.8 perhaps, but the 7 year old 300mm f2.8 is still top of the charts in sharpness, so not about to be tempted by a mk III anytime soon.

  • approved

    • MB

      Ok … thanks!?!

      • Sorry, I approve the comments that contain links by email and when I misspell the command, it ends up as a comment on the blog – I had to type “approve” instead of “approved” to approve your last comment 🙂

  • ZMWT

    Totally wrong explanations. No, this is what should have been *normal numbers* all these years. The trend that was experienced, say, 8-4 years ago, was just abnormal state of affairs for this industry, and some ill-informed folks and bloggers and faux-photographers took it as “the norm”. Problem was also in newcomers in this industry — goodness me, even GE and Samsung came in! — who believed the abnormal peak can be sustained forever. That is how little they know about photography. But if you look at sales of ILC cameras in the last 40 years, today, all of those companies fare MUCH better off.
    All these numbers, graphs, all this useless whining, it is all deceiving. Commentators, bloggers and faux-photographers who whine, have no idea how wrong they are.

  • decentrist

    wrongo, new sensor tech is coming

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