Who's Number 1 This Month?

The marketing departments of Sony and Nikon seem to be studying Trump too much. They both now seem to demand a lot of validation on very little information. 

Last year it was Sony trumpeting that they had the most sales. Of full frame ILC cameras. By value. In the US. In a few very carefully selected months that happened to not have Canon or Nikon sales going on.

Yesterday it was Nikon trumpeting that they had the most sales. Of full frame ILC cameras. By units and value. In the US. In the month of December. (They also identified the D850 and D750 as the best two selling cameras during that month, meaning that likely the Sony A7R3 or Canon 6D2 was third.)

What's really curious about Nikon's claim is that the D850 was first shipped in September, the Sony A7R3  in November. So really, Nikon, what happened in November? ;~) In particular, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Quite obviously Nikon wasn't number one in that period, which is probably the highest volume week of the year. 

These types of claims are mostly meaningless. They're like most early morning tweets, and should mostly be ignored. 

Did we learn anything from Nikon's press release?

Yes, two things stood out: first, full frame ILC camera sales were 69% higher in units and 59% higher in dollars in December 2017 than they were in December 2016. That's for all vendors. Nikon's units were up 81% and dollars 88% for that same comparison period, so better than the average uptake. But full frame definitely has been on the rise. At least for a short, specific, though important period.

It's worth looking at the full frame ILC cameras that appeared after December 2016, therefore: Canon 6D2, Leica M10, Nikon D850, Sony A9, and Sony A7R3. The 6D2 was selling at near list price against the deeply discounted D750. The Leica wasn't available in big numbers. Thus, the new full frame cameras that likely did most of the sales work in the US were the D850, A9, and A7R3, and I suspect the A9 didn't contribute all that much as the shine is definitely off that high-end camera now that the A7R3 is out.

Second, Nikon threw a lot of shade at Sony's use of the January to March numbers with the "full frame unit sales for the month of December 2017 were almost equal to unit sales from January through March of 2017." Burn.

Of course, the full year numbers for 2017 are available from NPD. No one seems to be trumpeting those at the moment, which should tell you something. 

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