Japanese report paints a bleak picture of the digital camera market

Canon EOS R
Image credit: Canon (Image credit: Future)

With smartphones continuing to eat away at the consumer end of the camera market, it probably won't come as a surprise to many that things have been tough for the big photography players in recent years.

But a recent report from Japanese business publication Nikkei highlights just how each of the big players fared last year - and while they've shuffled around a bit of their market share, overall sales have markedly dropped.

Digicame Info has highlighted a report in Japanese business publication Nikkei that states that 20.29m Digital Stills Camera (DSC) units were shipped last year, which represents a 22% decrease on 2017.

Image credit: CIPA

Image credit: CIPA (Image credit: CIPA)

Canon emerged as the victor here, with its 40.5% share of the market representing a 3.5% increase on its 2017 numbers. Rival Nikon saw its share contract by 2.7% to 19.1% overall, while Sony's 17.7% share dropped by 0.7% from where it was in 2017.

Fujifilm and Olympus may have much smaller shares than the above brands, but a 1.3% increase helped Fujifilm to increase its portion to 5.1% while Olympus's share crept up by a teeny 0.1% to 2.8% overall. 

Between them, these five manufacturers hold 85.2% of the market share, with the remainder split between Panasonic, Ricoh Imaging and others.

As concerning as it is to see that unit shipments dropped by so much last year, it's arguably more worrying that this trend appears set to continue throughout 2019. 

Figures provided up until May of this year show a consecutive year-on-year decline in shipments of interchangeable-lens cameras for every month so far (below), despite the fact that the past twelve months have welcomed a number of new models in fresh mirrorless systems. 

Image credit: CIPA

Image credit: CIPA (Image credit: CIPA)

These include Canon's EOS R and Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras, through to the more recent Panasonic S1R and S1 series models, in addition to fresh cameras from Fujifilm, Olympus and others. We'll have to wait some time before we know whether the rest of the year pans out the same way, but, at least right now, it's not looking too rosy.