Another Down Year for Cameras

(news & commentary)

Canon, as usual, was the first to report their latest financial information for the previous quarter. More importantly, Canon’s fiscal year is the calendar year, so their year-to-year results align with CIPA annual data, as do their forward projections.

  • 2015 actual:  5% decline in ILC units, 27% decline in compact units
  • 2016 estimate: 12% decline in ILC units, 27% decline in compact units

So Canon is forecasting that 2016 will be worse for them in cameras than 2015. Overall, Canon’s camera sales in 2015 were down 9.1%, though their profit was flat. For the coming year they project camera sales down 8% with profit slightly down.

Let’s apply Canon’s assumptions to all DSLRs for a moment. Let’s assume the the 12% decline in ILC units is all due to DSLRs and that Canon’s mirrorless sales stay the same. What would that imply for total CIPA numbers for 2016? About 8m DSLRs against 3.3m mirrorless. 

Curiously, Canon pointed out that most of the decline they’re experiencing is in SE Asia and China, and a lot of the sales decline is due to depreciating currencies in emerging countries, which make the product more expensive, and thus likely reduce demand. Canon did say that sales were strong in Japan and the US, and that the 5Ds and 5Dr were selling well. If you’re wondering about all those printer bundle giveaways towards the end of the year, note this: “sales of consumable supplies enjoyed solid demand.” Uh, gee, sure if you give away printers you might sell a lot of ink. 

In terms of 2016, Canon’s advice echoed that of most economists: strong US economy and recovering European economy, but slowdown in China and emerging markets. 

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