The Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) recently published its total production and shipment data for digital still cameras and interchangeable lenses for the month of June 2023. CIPA member companies shipped a total of 671,384 digital still cameras and 830,352 interchangeable lenses in June alone. Looking at just ILCs (DSLRs and mirrorless combined), 527,251 units were shipped in June, and fixed-lens digital cameras came in at 144,133 units shipped.

Recent Videos

While the overall number of digital cameras shipped this past June is slightly below what was shipped the month prior, at a decrease of 5.2% compared to May, the total shipments from June 2023 are at around the same level as in June 2022, with a slight decline of just 1.9% year over year.

This chart from CIPA shows total worldwide digital stills camera shipments between January and June 2023 (orange, squares), 2022 (black, triangles) and 2021 (purple, circles). These numbers include compact cameras with built-in lenses, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.

Looking back at the year so far, the trend appears steadier, with shipments between January and June 2023 at around 98.5% of where they were during the same period the year prior. What’s more, there has been a steady increase in total shipments of digital cameras each month from January to May this year, compared to a somewhat inconsistent trend line over the same period for both 2021 and 2022 (granted, the camera market tends to be seasonal, and not flat, across any given year). Similarly, for just interchangeable lens shipments in 2023 so far, we see a steady increase in units shipped between January and April, after which the number of shipments remains flat between April and June – but no decrease, at least yet.

This chart from CIPA shows total worldwide interchangeable lens shipments between January and June 2023 (orange, squares), 2022 (black, triangles) and 2021 (purple, circles). These numbers include lenses for both full-frame sensor cameras and larger as well as lenses for crop-sensor camera systems.

While there have been fluctuations in the number of digital cameras shipped during the beginning half of the year over the past three years, we see yet again, in 2023, the shipments trending and converging once more towards a similar level to that of both 2021 and 2022. In the two years prior, we see no big dips or dramatic variations in units shipped for the remaining half of the year. Hopefully, this trend will continue for 2023.

The trends support a theme we repeatedly encountered when speaking to camera company executives at the CP+ Expo in Japan earlier this year: in essence, that the industry was beginning to reach a natural point of equilibrium after years of falling sales.

These past few years have been tumultuous for the camera industry. Already facing a challenging battle to compete against smartphone cameras, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic hit camera manufacturers particularly hard with their ever-present demand for semiconductor chips. The onset of the global chip shortage in 2020 and the general worldwide shutdown caused by the pandemic significantly hampered camera manufacturers’ ability to produce and ship their products. We reached out to manufacturers for comment, and representatives from Canon told us:

'Until last year, the semiconductor shortage and supply chain disruptions had a significant impact on sales, but at this point, they have largely been resolved.

Although there is a risk that the market environment may change in the future due to instability in the global situation, we believe that the semiconductor shortage and supply chain disruptions can continue to be resolved in the future.'

Around three years later, camera and lens production levels still aren’t where they were pre-pandemic. Total digital camera production, so far this year, is down slightly at a 2.8% decrease compared to last year. It’s a similar story when we consider interchangeable lenses, with a 6.2% decrease in production between Jan-June 2023 compared to this same period the year before.

This table of data shows Total Production and Shipments of Digital Still Cameras for June 2023 and over the period of January-June 2023. Column 2) is a comparison over the previous month; Column 3) is a comparison over the same month a year ago; Column 4) is a comparison over the same period a year ago.

While these CIPA numbers aren’t cause for celebration just yet, perhaps we’re beginning to see some signs of market stability. At the very least, some positivity is reflected in the financial data from some of the major camera manufacturers. It's worth noting that there's a more complex story here having to do with the positive impact of foreign exchange rates on camera makers' bottom lines, but for this analysis, we'll stick to sales rather than financial results.

In Nikon's Fiscal Year End report (April 1, 2022 - March 31, 2023), it highlights strong sales of its flagship Z9 camera and lenses for mirrorless cameras. Nikon’s financial report also states that the Imaging business unit saw a recovery in units shipped thanks to improvements in procuring components after the global semiconductor shortage. In terms of future outlook, Nikon expects demand for mid-to-high-end imaging products to 'remain solid' for the upcoming fiscal year but admits in the same report that the overall market may yet contract more in 2024.

New product releases in 2023, like the Canon EOS R8, have made this a busy year for camera companies and shoppers alike.

Canon’s Q2 financial results (April 1 - June 30, 2023) indicate demand for digital imaging products, particularly for mirrorless cameras, namely steady sales of the full-frame EOS R6 Mark II, EOS R7 and EOS R10. Last year, Canon also announced two more APS-C mirrorless cameras, the EOS R50 and EOS R100, which have also been well-received by customers, according to spokespeople from Canon:

'Since last year, we have launched six mirrorless cameras, from entry class to advanced amateur models, in an effort to strengthen our EOS R series lineup," Canon Inc. said. "In the second quarter, sales of these new products were strong, and sales of RF lenses along with camera units increased, resulting in double-digit sales growth.'

Canon’s outlook for its third quarter and beyond also remains optimistic, stating that it expects demand for digital imaging products to remain strong, telling DPReview:

'As for cameras, we expect the market to grow slightly to 5.85 million units in 2023, as user demand is stimulated by new mirrorless cameras launched by each company,' Canon Inc. said. 'For the full year as well, we will aim for double-digit sales growth and unit sales of 2.9 million units, which exceeds that of last year.'

The latest market data provides some sense of hope that the industry might be back on track, but a lot is riding on the holiday sales season. Despite the challenging market conditions and a lower volume of digital cameras, camera manufacturers are soldiering on, and customers are responding, showing strong demand for cameras and lenses.