Canon sees a grim future for the camera business: expects digital camera market to shrink by half within two years

Jan 28, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Canon sees a grim future for the camera business: expects digital camera market to shrink by half within two years

Jan 28, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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In a recent interview, Canon’s president Fujio Mitarai expressed not-so-optimistic predictions for the future of the camera business. He admitted that Canon’s sales have declined by around 10% in the past couple of years, and he believes that it will get even worse. According to Mitarai, the digital cameras market could shrink by as much as 50% within the next two years.

The interview was published on the Japanese website Nikkei, where Canon’s president talked about the company’s plans, as well as his predictions and expectations for the future. Mitarai said that Canon plans to shift focus to corporate customers when it comes to the camera business. He believes that application of cameras will increase in industrial fields such as surveillance and medical care, and he showed the idea of providing lenses and other technologies to these customers.

As for the digital camera market, it has admittedly decreased within Canon, but also in general, Mitarai explains.

“In our company cameras have declined at around 10% a year (sales volume) in the past few years (combined with single lens reflex and mirrorless) The world market for interchangeable lens cameras is around 10 million, but decreased the mirrorless product is growing, but it is a replacement with a single lens reflex, it is not adding to the market as a whole. (Google translated)”

Mitarai adds that people nowadays usually shoot with smartphones, which could be the reason for the decrease in the digital camera market. According to him, this market will keep falling for about two years, when it will “hit the bottom.”

Another reason why the sales may be dropping is that people simply have no need to upgrade, especially when it comes to DSLRs. Most companies launch a new flagship DSLR every two to three years, and they only have minor changes compared to the previous generation. Take Nikon D5300, D5500 and D5600 as an example – they’re all practically identical. So, if you own a D5300, you likely won’t have the desire to upgrade, at least not to the newer flagship model.

It’s probably why camera companies are switching to mirrorless now. Currently, it’s probably the only way to offer something new, considering that most of them have got as far as possible when it comes to DSLRs.

[via Photo Rumors]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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19 responses to “Canon sees a grim future for the camera business: expects digital camera market to shrink by half within two years”

  1. Mike Avatar
    Mike

    Canon, and everyone who hasn’t already, need to focus on the software / firmware side to get a regular income stream. You used to buy Photoshop now you pay monthly to rent it. It is only a matter of time before the camera firms do the same with the firmware and you will need to cough up for an annual upgrade.

    1. decentrist Avatar
      decentrist

      that should depress sales further…great idea

  2. Alistair Clark Avatar
    Alistair Clark

    $5000 for a 5D4, $2500 for a 24-70mm lens…………

    1. WFS Avatar
      WFS

      Bingo Alistair. Also, once a person has bought into a system, why shell out significantly more money for relatively modest improvements? Possibly the only exception may be pro photographers who teach and need to have the latest-and-greatest gear.

      1. Kaouthia Avatar
        Kaouthia

        Except for needing to spend money to offset income, most working pros wouldn’t upgrade unless they had to, because it just wasn’t worth the expense. Why go spend 10 grand on a pair of new bodies if the old ones are still able to do the job just fine?

    2. Brian Bannister Avatar
      Brian Bannister

      Ever buy Hasselblad or Sinar gear with Rodenstock APO lenses in the day of film? Pro gear costs pro dollars.

  3. Henry Rodgers Avatar
    Henry Rodgers

    Like smartphones, the market will level and technology will hit a peak.

    1. Okaro Avatar
      Okaro

      Digital camera markets peaked already in 2010. The 2017 sales were 79% down in units, last year probably 84%. Fixed lens cameras peaked in 2008 and 2017 was 88% down. The only type that has remained stable are mirrorless cameras, but they are also the smallest group.

  4. Bogdan Dobre Avatar
    Bogdan Dobre

    Canon should have stopped being complacent and put innovation out about 5 years ago. It’s a wonder they lasted so long…

    1. Viggo Næss Avatar
      Viggo Næss

      Bogdan, isn’t it better to read the article than jump on assumptions ?

  5. Shachar Weis Avatar
    Shachar Weis

    Current camera tech has peaked, there isn’t much that can be improved in a modern DSLR. A major disruption is needed, like computational photography, but that requires innovation and a lot of risk.

    1. Chris Avatar
      Chris

      There is a lot of improvement left to be made, for example with low light, super high speed, in-camera processing like focus or exposure stacking…

  6. Nermin Huskić Avatar
    Nermin Huskić

    We know, Canon Rebel= T2=T3=T4=T5=T6=T7. No more sheeps Canon

  7. Daniel Lowe Avatar
    Daniel Lowe

    “It’s probably why camera companies are switching to mirrorless now.” 2015 called, they want their article updated. I already own 2 mirrorless cameras, the A7RII and GH5s. As a Videographer, Canon was dead to me when they refused to put 4K video on a DSLR for 5 years.

  8. Michael Groah Avatar
    Michael Groah

    Everyone that has said a comment on this thread is right, when I got my 5d mk 3, that was the last time that Canon has put in a solid product but even the price for that was high. With no real advanced thinking for what the consumer will want in the future this company wont last long as a top manufacturer but for those that are overly loyal to it, I know I used to be one. When you think about what Sony has put out, what Nikon has put out and what Canon has, it’s not even trying compared. Canon continues to have it’s four platforms of cameras, the Cheapos, the good but not full frame, the full frame but lacking, and good FF but outrageously expensive but when your best is lacking behind another companies mainstay at half the cost, sorry you are gonna lose. Even hearing the rumors of the new tech expectations for the 5DM5 seems to be lacking in abilities.

  9. Albin Avatar
    Albin

    Canon hit “Peak DSLR to incompetent hobbyists”, and therefore peak easy profit margin, around 2010 or so and is now seeing its compacts eaten alive by the smartphone piranhas. It’s also behind the curve on mirrorless, chasing manufacturers specializing to compete with, not to protect, Canon (and Nikon’s) premium products.

    I’m suspecting the best days are ahead for serious camera sensor and lens integration with brilliant algorithmic smartphone interface and app design, even open sourcing camera firmware with APIs to let third-party devs (instead of blinkered in-house captives) design and sell alternaive user interfaces for the hardware. It’s ridiculous that expensive phones are selling with 8GB of RAM, fast processors and miserable cameras while expensive cameras systems are using five year old specs. It isn’t Canon that’s likely to pave the new road, but companies like Sony or Samsung that make competent phones and cameras both.

    1. Matthias Avatar
      Matthias

      Well, sounds great on paper but in real life, making a new camera interface is quite a bit more than programming some app for smartphones. Besides, Samsung has quit the camera game years ago…

  10. Charles Archer Avatar
    Charles Archer

    UnRealistic pricing for the market that buys them the most and getting left in the dust by Sony.

  11. Derek Robertson Avatar
    Derek Robertson

    I’ve been using mirrorless cameras since September 2009 with the Lumix gf1 and always said mirrorless was the future. I was laughed at back then. Who’s laughing now… Sony… I love the eosr (I have two which are amazing for wedding photography), but I own couple of Sony’s for video.