While the major camera companies are constantly improving their camera technologies, Canon’s president believes the demand for them will drop very soon.
In an interview with Nikkei, Canon President Fujio Matarai said Canon’s camera sales volumes have seen a consistent decrease in the last couple of years. Now, most of that data is on DSLR cameras as mirrorless has taken over the market. Sadly, however, Canon reports the numbers haven’t improved even as they switch over to mirrorless cameras. Matarai went as far as to predict that the market for consumer digital cameras will fall from the current level of around 10 million annual units sold to about 5 to 6 million units in two years. That’s half of the demand gone, just like that.
“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 … the mirrorless product is growing, but it is a replacement [for] a single lens reflex; it is not adding to the market as a whole,” said Matarai.
Why is the demand decreasing at such a rapid pace?
Matarai attributes the decline in demand for consumer digital camera to smartphones:
“People usually shoot with smartphones. The digital camera market will keep falling for about 2 years, but professional and high amateur (advanced) amateurs use about 5 to 6 million units. Finally, it will hit the bottom. ”
As smartphone cameras improve, more and more people interested in photography and video production will stick with their phones. While smartphone cameras may not offer the same quality as DSLR and mirrorless cameras, their cameras are often good enough for those users.
Is this future concrete?
As with everything that’s in the future, nothing is definite. We also aren’t sure if this is a sign that Canon is yielding market share here, rather than pointing to a dip in the overall demand. Plus, it would be interesting to see what other camera companies like Sony, Panasonic and Nikon predict for the future of the market.