highly confidential - Micro Four Thirds info

Started Feb 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
peripheralfocus Veteran Member • Posts: 4,392
everybody who makes ILC's is winning

The undoubted sales success of mirrorless cameras overall is not actually coming at the expense of traditional mirrored SLRs, or at least not in any way that's visible.

Both Nikon and Canon are selling record numbers of traditional mirrored DSLR cameras -- more than they ever have before.

Canon sold 7.2 million DSLR cameras in 2011, up from 5.9 million in 2010, an 18% increase.

Nikon reports its sales from April 1st to March 31st every year, so its current year doesn't end for another 7 weeks, but it has projected DSLR unit sales of 4.7 million units for this year, up from 4 million units in 2010 (year ending March 31, 2011). This will be a 15% increase.

Nikon's increase comes despite the fact that their DSLR factory in Thailand was closed by flooding for almost 3 months. (They would have sold 5.4 million DSLR cameras, or a 26% increase, if that flood had not occurred, according to their earlier projections.) (The Nikon number does include 1 series mirrorless cameras, so it's not strictly only DSLRs but there's no doubt that the overwhelming majority of those 4.7 million units will be mirrored DSLRs.)

Both companies will make more money in 2011 from DSLRs than they ever have before.

And yet at the same time, mirrorless CSC sales are gaining overall interchangeable lens camera (ILC) market share. What that means is that the total market for ILCs is growing very rapidly. Everybody is winning.

This to some extent validates the claims made by Panasonic and Samsung two or three years ago, at the beginning of the mirrorless business, that they expected mirrorless CSCs, over time, to expand the overall market for ILCs to 20 or 30 million units a year (up from about 10 million a year at that time).

All of this is very good for the traditional camera companies, which are under increasing pressure in the point-and-shoot market from smartphones. The point-and-shoot digital camera market is already shrinking, down about 8% in unit volume and almost 20% in dollar value in 2010. Yet, the camera makers are making a very substantial market in ILCs, which are more profitable to begin with and will never be under threat from smartphones (probably never ). ILC cameras overall (mirrored and mirrorless together) were up 22% by unit volume and 6% by value in 2010.

Obviously, both Canon and Nikon will need to become significant players in the mirrorless market (and anybody who doubts Canon's ability to compete in that, or any other, camera segment doesn't know anything about the camera business.)

But the general lesson here is that the outlook is pretty good for everybody making ILCs. People seem to want them, and Apple may not bury everybody in a giant mountain of iPhones.

Some sources:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/30/canon-idUSL3E7LC0CB20120130

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-07/canon-clinging-to-mirrors-means-opportunity-for-sony-cameras.html

The Nikon figures are derived from a couple of different sources, including a Feb. 3rd post at bythom.com and Nikon's earnings projection for 2nd half fiscal year 2012:

http://www.nikon.com/about/ir/ir_library/result/pdf/2012/12second_2_e.pdf

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