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Canon camera sales down, profit less so

Canon Japan has posted a significant increase in profit on slightly lower sales for its Jan-Dec 2014 financial year, with the Imaging group’s results reflecting the downturn in the camera segment.

Global sales were down by just 0.1 percent (3731 billion yen to 3727 billion yen) while gross profit rose 3.5 percent (1798 billion yen to 1861 billion yen), operating profit was up 7.8 percent, and net income was up an impressive 10.5 percent.

Canon Imaging group's 2014 sales were down, with a fall of 11.5 percetn in camera revenue. (Figues in brackets are 'Local currency base). (Source: Canon)
Canon Imaging group’s 2014 sales were down, with a fall of 11.5 percent in camera revenue. (Figues in brackets are ‘Local currency base). (Source: Canon)

While the Imaging group, largely cameras, lenses and inkjet printers, posted a diminished result compared to 2013, in the context of a worldwide market in which Japanese camera shipments were down to less than 70 percent of 2013 levels, it could have been a lot worse. Sales for the business unit decreased by 7.3 percent to 1343.2 billion yen and operating profit declined just 4.5 percent to 194.6 billion yen.

Canon-tableIn unit terms terms, sales of cameras were down by 26 percent, consisting of a 17 percent fall in interchangeable lens cameras and a 32 percent fall in digital compacts.

The accompanying report noted: ‘Within the Imaging System Business Unit, although sales volume of interchangeable-lens digital cameras declined owing to the shrinking market – in Japan as a result of the reaction following the rush in demand prior to the consumption tax increase, and in Europe and other markets due to worsening economic conditions – the advanced-amateur-model EOS 7D Mark II achieved healthy growth, enabling Canon to maintain the market’s top share.

‘As for digital compact cameras, despite a decline in total sales volume, sales of high-added-value models featuring high image quality and high-magnification zoom capabilities, such as the PowerShot G7 X and PowerShot SX60 HS/SX700 HS, recorded solid growth, contributing to an improvement in profitability.’

Looking forward to this year, Canon anticipates the interchangeable lens market to bounce back: ‘As for the digital camera market, although projections indicate continued market contraction mainly for low-priced compact models, demand for interchangeable-lens digital cameras is expected to recover gradually.

Towards the end of the report, there was a possible hint that Canon may increase its focus on online sales: ‘In the consumer segment, Canon will address the popularity of online shopping and other trends that are contributing to the diversification of sales channels.’

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