Canon reports 23% decline in camera sales and 81% drop in Imaging division operating profit

Apr 26, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Canon reports 23% decline in camera sales and 81% drop in Imaging division operating profit

Apr 26, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Canon has previously predicted a 50% drop in camera sales over the next two years, and it seems that they might be right according to their latest financial report from Q1 2019. According to the report, they’re already seeing a 23% decline in camera sales from last year, with an 81% drop in operating profit vs Q1 2018.

The report notes that unit sales are down much faster than expected, with entry-level DSLR sales falling rapidly along with an economic slowdown in China. Canon’s full-year prediction has been revised as a result.

And while net sales in Canon’s Imaging division has only dropped 17% after taking into account items like Canon’s range of inkjet printers, this results in a more than 81% drop in operating profit for the department as a whole compared to Q1 2018.

This drop in sales might hinder Canon’s goal of taking a 50% market share by 2020, although this will obviously depend on whether or not the other camera manufacturers are also seeing a significant drop in sales, even greater than Canon’s.

Canon expects the market to keep shrinking for another two to three years “due to the rise of the smartphones”. But it’s not only smartphones that are on the rise. With Fuji reporting 8.5 million Instax sales in just 9 months leading up to Q3 2018, this might be why Canon recently announced their own instant cameras.

They also see the benefits of mirrorless when it comes to their future sales, although they say that “sales of mirrorless cameras could not cover this drop”. More than likely due to the fact that many would-be-EOS R-owners are still put off by the specs of the current Canon mirrorless range. The 4K cropped video, the single SD card slot, and a number of other factors.

This will need to change in the future if Canon expects to attract more mirrorless customers to make up for the DSLR sales losses. Although Canon does say that their mirrorless unit sales grew “at a pace far exceeding the overall market”.

Mirrorless cameras, known for being small and lightweight, are increasing their presence in the market. Amid this situation, we will steadily shift our focus from DSLR to mirrorless cameras with the aim of maintaining our overwhelming competitiveness, which we have built upon DSLRs.

Canon didn’t go into any new products in the report, simply confirming what we already knew. That the EOS RP had recently been released, and that they’re planning six new RF mount lenses within the next year.

Additionally, at the end of the quarter, we further enhanced our lineup, with the launch of the EOS RP, a smaller and lighter mirrorless camera equipped with a full-frame sensor and the same new mount found on the EOS R. Additionally, we plan to release six new models of RF lenses within the year. Users have not only praised the performance of these bodies and lenses, but also expressed their high expectations for the R system overall having felt our sense of urgency in strengthening our lineup over a short period of time. We will work to maintain sales growth of the EOS RP, which got off to a flying start, while also successively launching new RF lenses as we work to further stimulate sales of our strengthened mirrorless lineup.

So, it seems like Canon is not worried, despite the substantial drop in sales and profit. They just need to shift their focus to what customers actually want.

You can read the full report over on the Canon website.

[via Digital Camera World]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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9 responses to “Canon reports 23% decline in camera sales and 81% drop in Imaging division operating profit”

  1. Brian Drourr Avatar
    Brian Drourr

    Shocking, truly shocking I say. Who could have seen this coming? #inseertsarcasmfonthere

  2. Michael Stevens Avatar
    Michael Stevens

    Good thing Canon is right in the lead pack with MIrrorless… :(

  3. Kenth Hagström Avatar
    Kenth Hagström

    I also left Canon for another brand.

  4. Justin Akard Avatar
    Justin Akard

    I will not buy another Canon. They have sucked for years.

  5. Cyril Preddy Avatar
    Cyril Preddy

    GOOD ?

  6. Joseph Jose Avatar
    Joseph Jose

    They’ve been selling the same outdated shit for about 10yrs now and still misses key features on 800$ cameras

  7. Peter Foote Avatar
    Peter Foote

    Selling my 6D on Friday.
    I can’t sing the praises of Sony highly enough.
    Canon can slowly slip into Kodak’s corner while we all giggle.

  8. Eric Bowles Avatar
    Eric Bowles

    Pretty dramatic increase in inventory for the Imaging Group. Management says it is mainly due to slow DSLR sales. Management also indicates expected future growth in sales is in professional and advanced consumer segments of imaging market. Compact Cameras are declining mildly. No wonder Canon was pushing big discounts during Q2 – they need to dump a lot of DSLR cameras in a declining market before they launch additional mirrorless models.

  9. owswitch Avatar
    owswitch

    I am not sure why anyone would be surprised by the trend. For a few reasons.
    1. new camera technology is expensive
    2. camera manufacturers provide product life cycles of about 3 years for most camera models (at most)
    And cameras depreciate very quickly – almost as fast as cars.
    3. the bulk of the population is not shooting art – they are shooting friends, family and themselves to prove they’ve been somewhere. And cell phones will do this more cost effectively.
    4. premium lenses are very expensive
    5. unlike computer technology, innovations do not seem to drive down prices.
    6. consumers become disillusioned when the manufacturers bundle cameras and lenses together – it’s a heck of a lot of equipment to gather dust on the shelf – which most do.
    7. cameras are bulky and in many cases heavy. Not to mention the cost of tripods, filters, flash units, etc. People just don’t want to carry it around. It’s a bear while traveling.
    8. although technology is improving image quality and, supposedly, ease-of-use, in fact, today’s cameras can actually be very complicated unless you’re a regular user. Very expensive if all you want to do is put the unit on full auto.
    9. thieves know what brands and models to look for – and prey on the vulnerable tourist.

    So no surprise that people are turning off on the cost of equipment and bulk. That cellphone and selfie-stick are lighter, easy to carry and a lot less money overall. And they give them the quality they accept.