Hands holding a Canon camera
Canon sales have dropped this quarter and it is going to continue to drop. Image courtesy digitalcameraworld.com.

Canon has released its first quarter sales and the news isn’t good. It’s pretty bad, in fact and it could point to a big shift for the camera market.

Canon revealed in its announcement that its sales of their DSLR and MILC cameras have fallen by almost 20% in the first quarter of 2019. It also reduced sales forecasts by 14% for the year. Those are huge drops and will likely leave any professional videographer and photographer worried. Though Canon believes there “is a portion of the market that will remain” through “serving the needs of professionals and advanced amateurs,” the company is taking note of the overall downward trend. Thinking of the future, Canon is looking to invest in technologies targeting other industries. “We are taking measures to shift our business focus toward B2B, expanding our business sphere to automotive and industry use,” Canon says.

Why is this happening?

In a very compelling article from Fstoppers, the publication reports that the demise to the camera market is due to smartphones.

“The digital era has brought a twofold transformation: more people are able to create acceptable images with technology that’s in their pocket, and fewer images are required at print-ready quality,” writes Fstoppers.

Don’t get us wrong. There’s a lot of good coming from smartphones. It allows practically anyone to shoot great pictures or express themselves through video. More people are able to create acceptable images. They may not be of utmost quality, but they look good enough to be appreciated. This is good or bad depending on your perspective. We support everyone and anyone who wants to shoot video and photos. However, the high availability of acceptable cameras gives buyers less incentive to buy dedicated cameras, driving down sales and slowing camera innovation.

What are the consequences?

Fstoppers argues that there are many potential consequences that we may not expect. They go on to say that professionals won’t feel the changes immediately. Rather, what will happen is a slowing of technological advancements. One TechCrunch article claims we’ve reached a plateau in terms of sensor technology and big steps for cameras will be software-based, not hardware-based.

It’s possible that the mirrorless camera market will last a while, but we could see fewer innovations to come to these cameras than we’ve seen in the past ten to fifteen years. That’s not to say there won’t be any advancements. We just won’t see them as often. The shift in the market doesn’t give camera companies much incentive to invest tons of money into their cameras.

But that isn’t all. Fstoppers also claims that, since cameras will see fewer milestone advancements and smaller, more incremental upgrades, camera users will feel less inclined to buy the new models. There would be no pressure to get the latest ground-breaking camera.

All we know at this point is the future of the camera market is uncertain. And as more reports come out like the one Canon released this quarter, it just adds to the uncertainty. What do you think will be happening in the future? Let us know.

Image courtesy digitalcameraworld.com


  1. It could also be people are seeing the environmental impact of constantly buying the latest model, and discarding the old. E-waste is a huge problem.

  2. So Canon goes down the drain and suddenly the entire industry is at risk? Seems unlikely. Especially since Canon holds only a fraction of the market (aside from their lenses, which in all fairnes weren’t being revolutionised lately, just old models being really good) compared to the userbase of sony and panasonic professional camera’s. Guess that happens when you refuse to go with the demands and just coast on the old businessmodel of making a pretty good camera that asks a pretty big investment of people and offering extremely cut-down products that are more affordable but with missing features and plain useless output (Eos RP anyone?) just to stimulate people that know there are better options to spend more money. And frankly that’s the same as apple, as people start to see that the brand premium is not worth the features you lose.


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