With a series of gloomy recent financial reports from the camera companies, followed by a rumour that Olympus could even close its camera business within the next 12 months, it was heartening to see that there’s been a pleasing uptick in the September camera and lens shipment figures from CIPA, the Japanese camera manufacturers’ association.
While almost doing as well as last year is no indication of an industry going gangbusters (and ‘one swallow not making a summer’), the news from January to August was a lot worse, with shipments for the first eight months of the year running at roughly 75 percent of the 2018 figures. A big kick in September has monthly shipments of interchangeable lens cameras at 94 percent 2018 figures and lens shipments at 96 percent of 2018 figures.
Once again, the real problem child has been DSLRs, with shipments 19 percent lower than September 2018 but the value of those shipments 35 percent lower. By comparison, in the mirrorless segment, shipments are 13 percent up on September 2018.
The value of lens shipments for September actually outstripped September 2018, but when we look at the full nine months, the global lens business is still well down on 2018 (23 percent) although the average selling price per unit is improving.