(news & commentary)
CIPA released the final numbers for 2014. Here’s the graph (DSLR and mirrorless are on the same scale):
First, allow me to brag a bit. For the last nine months, my 2014 mirrorless projections have been sitting on this page. My estimate for the year? 3.2m mirrorless cameras. The actual number? 3.289m mirrorless cameras. Missed it by that much. Oh, wait, didn’t really miss it at all.
While I didn’t publish the number anywhere, I didn’t do as well with my DSLR projections. I projected just shy of 13m DSLRs and the final number was 10.55m. Of course, we’re still waiting for a few key updated cameras in that group, a number of which will show up in the next week or so and thus missed the 2014 numbers.
Overall, I did better. The total of all digital still cameras, including compacts came out to 43.4m units. What I missed on the DSLR side I missed the other way on the compact side. My projection nine months ago was 43m total units. I was one of the most pessimistic of the forecasters at the time.
But Ugh. That graph to the right is the last four years of camera shipments, with blue being compacts, yellow DSLRs, and green mirrorless. There’s really no good news for camera makers in that chart other than perhaps that mirrorless sales didn’t go away.
Canon is currently saying that their ILC sales (DSLR and mirrorless) will be flat for 2015. They’re introducing new replacement models pretty much across the board this year, so perhaps they’re right. Still, I’m inclined to think that they’re wrong, and that they’ll see a drift downwards in volume. Nikon will announce their new projections tomorrow (in a few hours as I write this), so stand by. (Again, I don’t do my yearly forecasts until April/May, because I need to see information that generally only gets revealed in year end fiscal reports, and all but Canon do that during that time.)
At CP+ next week the Japanese execs will be looking for anything that looks like a spark that might indicate a reversal of trend, or at least a mitigation of trend. Canon’s heavy product intros (coming on Friday) might be that, then again, might not. We’ll see. Nikon’s product intros look like they won’t be done until just prior (Tuesday) to the show .
There is good news in all this. If you’re shopping for a camera or lens, that is. I think that we’re right on the verge of the camera makers having to give up margin and try price as a motivator to turn around the sales drought. Dealers all are reporting to me that January has been slow. On Saturday at the local Best Buy, there wasn’t a single person shopping at the camera counter during the hour I was there, though the mobile, TV, and computer counters were hopping.