The Camera & Imaging Products Association annual report has some positive predictions for this year – a reversal of the decade-long decline in camera and lens shipments!
Total shipments of digital cameras last year were just 58.4 percent those of in 2019. In 2020 (January to December cumulative), the total shipments of digital cameras were only 8,886,292 units. This continues a decline which started in 2009 (with a tiny uptick in 2017).
Shipments of compact digital cameras declined sharply, DSLRs equally so. Mirrorless interchangeable camera shipments fared better than compacts and DSLRs, slipping to ‘only’ to 76 percent of volume and 86 percent of value compared to 2019. Interchangeable lens digital cameras (single-lens reflex and mirrorless), now account for about 60 percent of total shipments.
It’s interesting to note that in value terms, mirrorless is first, daylight second. Mirrorless interchangeable shipments are only about 500,000 units in front of DSLRs (2.4 million versus 2.9 million), but are worth around 250 percent more in value terms – 247 billion yen versus 97 billion yen. Compacts are only worth 76 billion yen.
CIPA sees some positive signs following the blows delivered by Covid and the postponement of the Olympics in 2020, noting that ‘monthly shipments of interchangeable lens digital cameras have continued to exceed 80 percent in volume and 100 percent in value since October last year.’
While lens shipments also slumped to 63 percent of the volumes of 2019, CIPA sees a positive sign: ‘the fact that the number of interchangeable lenses has reached 1.7 times the number of interchangeable lens digital cameras, can be said to be a barometer that many fans continue to upgrade their photography systems and pursue photography.’
So confident is CIPA that the dramatic 2020 slump was not simply part of the ongoing decline over the previous decade, that it is predicting an actual increase in digital camera shipments in 2021 – up to 107 percent on 2020 levels, with 113.4 percent for interchangeable lens digital cameras.
‘In 2021 (January to December cumulative), the total shipments of digital cameras will be 9.53 million units…107.2 percent of the previous year.’
Total shipments of interchangeable lenses are expected to increase to 108 percent of 2020 levels.